Fallen cops honoured at service

Sam JonesNorth West Telegraph
A commemoration service saw the Newman community and police officers from across the state pay tribute.
Camera IconA commemoration service saw the Newman community and police officers from across the state pay tribute. Credit: Sam Jones / North West Telegraph

A moving remembrance ceremony and tribute sporting spectacle was held in Newman over the weekend to pay respects to four police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.

The memorial service was attended by more than 200 people, including the families of the fallen servicemen, WA police, community members and emergency services personnel, who gathered at the crash site about 10km outside of the town.

In 2001, Senior Constable Phillip Ruland, First Class Const. David Dewar, Sen. Const. Donald Everett and Const. Gavin Capes were travelling in a light plane arriving at Newman Airport.

The officers were returning from duty at the Kiwirrkurra community on January 26 when their plane went down, killing them instantly.

The event was the greatest loss of police life in a single incident in Australian history.

A commemoration service saw the Newman community and police officers from across the state pay tribute.
Camera IconA commemoration service saw the Newman community and police officers from across the state pay tribute. Credit: Sam Jones / North West Telegraph

Newman police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Jon Munday said the crash was still felt by the State as the most significant loss of life in modern-day Australian policing history.

“Back on January 26 in 2001, four police officers, three from Newman and their police pilot from Karratha, were returning from a remote community incident and unfortunately the plane crashed just south of the Newman airport — tragically all four police officers losing their lives,” he said.

“So in 2005 the then officer-in-charge of the police station, Geoff Stewart and one of his colleagues (Tony Signal), an officer from New Zealand, came up with theBloody Slow Cup idea — a take-off of the Bledisloe Cup.

“Since 2005, it’s increased with varying different sports and now includes golf, cricket, soccer, netball, touch rugby and rugby.”

The main event of the evening saw the WA Police pipe band play before kick-off.
Camera IconThe main event of the evening saw the WA Police pipe band play before kick-off. Credit: Sam Jones / North West Telegraph

Speaking at the memorial crash site, Police Minister Michelle Roberts said the event was a fitting tribute to the lives of the deceased officers.

“It’s been nearly 20 years since these four officers lost their lives and we do not forget,” she said.

“They were killed answering a community need.

“Events like this remind us that our officers put their lives on the line every day, and it reminds us about just how real that sacrifice can be.”

Ms Roberts also said she wanted to thank the community of Newman and local officers for their support and hard work.

“The Bloody Slow Cup weekend has been a continuing communal effort to ensure these officers’ sacrifice is never forgotten,” she said.

Families of the fallen officers walked through a commemorative banner at the beginning of the game.
Camera IconFamilies of the fallen officers walked through a commemorative banner at the beginning of the game. Credit: Sam Jones / North West Telegraph

Various activities were held over the weekend in the lead-up to the Bloody Slow Cup tournament on Saturday night, including soccer tournaments, mixed-touch rugby and women’s touch.

Once the ceremony ended, special guests including Western Force players, Rugby WA and local and senior police appeared at Newman Shopping Centre for a meet-and-greet session.

Funds raised throughout the lead-up to the event went towards WA Police Legacy, an organisation that cares for families of police officers who have lost their lives while serving their communities.

Families of the fallen officers walked through a commemorative banner at the beginning of the game.
Camera IconFamilies of the fallen officers walked through a commemorative banner at the beginning of the game. Credit: Families of the fallen officers walked through a commemorative banner at the beginning of the game., Sam Jones / North West Telegraph

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