POLICE and the public have remembered late officers in a sombre ceremony in Bendigo.
About 100 people attended the National Police Remembrance Day event at the Bendigo RSL on Sunday.
While no local officers have died on duty in the last 12 months, Sergeant Tony Kekich said the day was a chance to honour all serving members who had passed away.
“It affects us greatly, most definitely,” he said.
“As I said during my speech, we’re a small family.
“And these things really do hit home.
“It hits home how precious life is and how much we have to cherish that as well.
“A lot of these police have passed before their time and had so much more to offer the community, so much more to offer law and order in Victoria.”
Roses and wreaths were laid by the friends and family of deceased officers and by currently serving members.
The Last Post played out followed by a minute's silence.
“The main reason for today is just to reflect upon the memories of police who have served the community and have passed and that we were friends with,” Sergeant Kekich said.
“We honour their memory.
“We honour their commitment to duty
“And we honour the way in which they conduct themselves and we hope to take something away from that and put it in our own lives and our service to community.”
According to Victoria Police, 157 officers have been killed in the line of duty since the force was formed 160 years ago.
17 sworn and unsworn Victoria Police members died in the last 12 months.
Sergeant Kekich paid tribute to three local officers – Gerry Rudkins, Craig Pearse and Steve Harvey – who had died in recent years.
“All three died whilst active members,” he said.
“Once again we feel that because they still had so much to offer.
“That’s the saddest part about it all.”