The families of police constables Matthew Arnold and Rachel McCrow have remembered the “evil” day their lives were shattered when both were gunned down.
Friday marks National Police Remembrance Day when services are held across the country, with three officers killed on the job in the past 12 months.
The third name added to Canberra’s National Police Memorial this year will be that of 28-year-old Constable Anthony Woods who was run over and killed during a pursuit in Western Australia in June this year.
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Constables Arnold, 26, and McCrow, 29, were following up a missing persons report on a remote property in Wieambilla in December when they came under fire from a high-powered rifle.
Arnold was killed, while a wounded McCrow returned fire before she was also fatally shot.
Their families said the pair epitomised what it meant to be a police officer, always putting others before themselves.
“Bright, brave, thoughtful and kind,” they said.
“Outside of work, they were loyal friends, full of laughter, a devoted daughter and dedicated son — they impacted the lives of everyone around them.
“Every day, our families deeply miss their presence, and our love and pride in both Matthew and Rachel will never waver.”
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said this year’s observance will be especially personal as she stands with the fallen officers’ families.
“It’s the worst thing that can happen in your commissionership is to get that phone call where you’ve lost an officer,” she said.
“It is incredibly important to show that we will never forget them.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk expressed her gratitude, as annual candlelight vigils were held across the state overnight to honour fallen police officers.
“Each year we are reminded of the police who have lost their lives in the line of duty and this year’s vigil will be especially significant as we honour the lives of Constables Matthew Arnold and Rachel McCrow,” Palaszczuk said.
Carroll said while in so many ways policing is a safe job, it includes elements that are extraordinarily dangerous.
“We do that because we are passionate about keeping our community safe,” she said.
“When an officer has fallen it is incredibly important that their family is not just supported at that time, but for many years and that they remain a part of the blue family.”
The families of the slain Queensland officers offered their thoughts and heartfelt empathy to all police families struggling with the loss of a loved one.
“There are no words to express the pain, but we stand with you in remembering them today and every day,” they said.
To show their support, members of the public can wear ribbons which are available at police stations.
National Police Remembrance Day is commemorated every year on September 29, which is the feast day of Saint Michael the Archangel — the patron saint of police officers.
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