The four Victorian police officers who lost their lives in the Eastern Freeway tragedy have been remembered in a special online memorial service to mark Police Remembrance Day.
The four Victorian police officers who lost their lives in the Eastern Freeway tragedy have been remembered in a special online memorial service to mark National Police Remembrance Day this year.
Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King, Constable Glen Humphris and Constable Josh Prestney were killed on duty on April 22.
Their deaths marked the biggest loss of life in a single event for Victoria Police.
An online service was held due to COVID-19 restrictions at 10am today to honour all officers who died in the line of duty.
Chief Commissioner Shane Patton marked the occasion with a special wreath-laying ceremony at the Police Memorial Honour Wall.
The wall lists 170 police officers who have sacrificed their lives while serving the community since established in 1853.
The names of the four fallen officers were added to the wall, with a special flag-raising ceremony at the Victoria Police Academy also taking place.
"While the pandemic has forced us to change the way we usually unite to honour our fallen colleagues, one thing remains the same. We will never forget the ultimate sacrifices our fellow police officers have made while serving our community," Commissioner Patton said before the event.
"Every National Police Remembrance Day, we remember. But 2020 marks a significant tragedy in Victoria Police history, when we lost four of our own in one heartbreaking incident.
"We remember police officers like Lynette, Kevin, Josh and Glen and those before them, who have tragically died while keeping fellow Victorians safe. There is no higher price.
"The impact of their deaths continues to be felt throughout the community, and by our police family both interstate and internationally. "
The lives of 23 police members, Protective Services Officers, Police Custody Officers and Victorian Public Servants who have passed away since last year's Blue Ribbon Day were also remembered.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews today pledged that a special memorial service paying tribute to the four fallen will go ahead once COVID-19 restrictions eased.
"As the Premier of the state, can I say to you that my thoughts and prayers will be with their families today and with every police member and every police family on what will be a very challenging Police Remembrance Day," he said.
"To live your life in the service and protection of others is an amazing thing. To lose your life doing that work is a terrible tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers and best wishes are with every police member and every police family today. "
Police tape and blue ribbons have been tied around trees in Melbourne, with members of the community also encouraged to turn city streets blue by decorating fences, balconies and homes.
Touchstone plaques honouring the four fallen were escorted from the Australian Federal Police College in the ACT to the National Police Memorial in Kings Park.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said all Australians would hold the four fallen in their hearts today.
"I think all Australians would be thinking of them today in the context of Police Remembrance Day," Mr Morrison said.
"They are an amazing family, the police family, and today we honour them, we respect them. To all of those who have lost colleagues, families who have lost fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, we remember them too, as they think about those who have been lost.
"And we think about those in particular who continue to struggle each day with the cost of their service."
Tribute by Stuart Schulze, Lynette's husband
Lynette's death has deeply affected us all, but our family continue to be comforted by the support and condolences from the community, Victoria Police and Lynette's colleagues.
Her team will hold a special place in our family now, joined in a special bond of collective loss. We will always love her and hold her in our memories as we move forward into a different world.
Lynette was a loving daughter, sister, and mother to our two sons, Alexander and Nathan. She loved them dearly and only wanted for them to get ahead and be happy. She was my wife, best friend and travelling guide. We shared all of life's rich experiences, especially if it involved good value tasty food, good wine and travel.
We first crossed paths in the bowels of Russell Street Police Station. We met to talk for the first time at the police club, one late night in May 1989. A few days later when we crossed paths, she invited me to go sky diving and of course I agreed.
Over the next few years, we joined in our shared interest and love for travel. We renovated our home, built a boat and created a family together. Over six years, our family lived on the boat, Sapphire Blue (named after her favourite gem), and sailed to Sydney, New Zealand around New Caledonia and back to Australia via the Whitsunday Islands. Twelve months later, we returned to Melbourne.
We continued to travel the world together, over 15 cruises in Australia, Asia, Europe and America. Her oldest and dearest friends are the ones she met travelling. Friends from all over the world share in our sadness.
We were together through thick and thin, good and bad, plenty and poor. She loved her kids. Her favourite place had come to be on the deck of our home in Loch Sport, overlooking the lake during sunset with a glass of sparkling or wine and a good cheese. We all miss you.
We are all now entering a new place in history without someone that we loved and held precious. Our journey now has blurred and missing signposts, but we will move on, and on every occasion, we will salute those who have passed and the ones that we love. We will attain milestones and be proud that we will honour Lynette's memory. She will always be in our hearts.
Tribute by Belinda, Josh's mum
Josh was one of our best friends. He was a quiet and unassuming person, but he was highly intelligent, witty and clever. He loved deeply. He loved his family more than anything. He would much rather come home and have a beer with his dad and talk footy and politics while sitting around a fire or listening to music.
He was passionate about the people in his life, and his music. He loved his guitar and spent a lot of time playing it. He was extremely generous. If you mentioned something that you liked, he'd remember and come your birthday or Christmas, that's what he would buy that for you. He wanted everyone to be happy. He was a very special person with a gentle soul.
The outpouring support shown by the community has been extremely humbling. The gifts, cards, messages and words of support from people we don't know across Victoria and Australia has been incredible.
It felt like people were feeling the pain with us and were walking beside us throughout it all. You can feel that people feel it in their hearts. They are really grieving with us. The Victoria Police officers have been incredible. Every person we've met has been the right person for that job. They are the most compassionate, hardworking and courageous people that you can come across.
National Police Remembrance Day is something we've always been aware of, but this year it will be much more personal. We will be remembering Josh and the reasons why he joined the blue family. While this day is an opportunity for us to remember what police do every day, it's also a very sombre reminder of what Josh did, and what Alex does for a living.
Tribute by Alex, Josh's brother
National Police Remembrance Day will not feel real this year. We've had this day for so long, and it's remembering those who have put their lives on their line, but you never thought you would be doing it for someone in your own family.
It's a special day to be honouring police but at the same time, it will be hard to swallow and this year will hit so much harder. I still can't bring myself to see Josh's face where he shouldn't be.
And his name where it shouldn't be. The only place that I should see Josh's name in blue is on his locker.
Tribute by Andrew, Josh's dad
Josh and I did lots of travelling together. We did a boy's trip to Bali and competed in Ironman together in Western Australia and Sydney, we went camping every Melbourne Cup weekend.
But for me, the moments that I will remember most about Josh are the mundane things we did in life. It's cooking dinner together, watering the garden in the summertime and watching the footy together. We wouldn't say much. We didn't need to. He was my best mate. I will take those little things with me every day.
We would sit at the dinner table and everyone would disappear because we were deep in discussions about politics or how we were going to save the world. Josh had an answer to all of life's issues. They were the small things in life that nobody should take for granted because then they can disappear in an instant.
Tribute by Sharron Mackenzie, Kevin's wife
Not a day has gone by without tears.
Kevin was a gentle, loving soul with the biggest heart of gold who loved his family dearly. He was the person we made our plans with. He was every part of our past, present and future. We chose to be together continuously, through all life's ups and downs. We chose commitment every single day.
He was the most beautiful man, the love of my life, my best friend. He was the most dedicated, devoted and loving father and best mate to our three boys James, William and Henry; who he loved so dearly, they were his world. He was a much-loved son, brother, uncle and mate, a shining star to all whose lives he touched.
We miss him so profoundly and deeply and will forever miss so much about what was before, our shared family times together – long days at the beach, the fishing trips, the footy, the banter and having a laugh. We miss his music and hearing the sound of him strumming on his guitar. We miss, so much, his voice, his smile, his warmth and his way of making things better and will forever remember and cherish the times we spent together.
He was taken away from us, so suddenly, so tragically and way too soon and we now face the long, heartbreaking journey ahead of trying to find peace in not knowing all the answers. We can reflect on troubling emotions and transform them in a positive way and remember Kevin as the kind, considerate and beautiful man he was.
The loss of Kevin will never leave us, his love is eternal.
We miss him so much and yet every day we are reminded of how much he is still with us.
We will remember him always and forever.
Our heartfelt thank you to Victoria Police, the entire blue family, Kevin`s colleagues, members of the wider community and general public.
Tribute by Todd Robinson, Glen's partner
Glen was a bubbly and happy-go-lucky person. He was always ready to listen no matter what you were going through. He was from the Central Coast. He left school to become an apprentice carpenter. After a while doing that, he decided he wanted to help people. That's when he decided to become a personal trainer and then an exercise physiologist. In this field of work, he was able to help people and interact with people every day, which was fulfilling for him.
After we met, he became a return-to-work coordinator so we could live closer in Newcastle. He did that until we moved to Melbourne. Once he saw the teamwork and mateship that came from my job working in the Australia Defence Force, he decided to join Victoria Police. We both applied together. I've still got a couple of steps I need to take if I decide to pursue it, but he got through straight away. Within eight months, he was at the academy, where he thrived.
Outside of work, Glen and I were pretty adventurous. We loved the apartment life because we weren't in it a lot. We'd often be out exploring for the day, or the weekend, only coming home to get what we needed. There was never a dull moment for us. We were always on the go. From the day we met, Glen and I did a 30km bike ride. He was never the person to sit still. He was outgoing, and our personalities complemented each other well.
For our birthdays and other important occasions, we would love to travel and explore somewhere new. In November last year, we flew to Launceston and went to Cradle Mountain. It was snowing, which was really special as he'd never seen snow before. We loved being outdoors, and it wouldn't be unlike us to spontaneously jump on a plane and spend a weekend in a different state. Last year, we spent three weeks in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
It was special and fulfilling for me because I served in Cambodia back in 1993. It was the first time I had been back in 30 years and I loved being able to show Glen around where I had been as a 23-year-old. One of the main things we did while living here in Melbourne was to spend the weekends together exploring the new city. We loved making Victoria our new home. It was five years of non-stop fun.
When I now look at the photos we took together, I'll miss the whirlwind of adventure and love we had for each other. Over the five years we knew each other, I'll try to find peace in knowing that he left this world happy, content and complete, finally finding what he wanted from Victoria Police. We loved each other and I will miss him.
Tribute by Mark Humphris, Glen's dad
Glen Andrew Humphris was very much loved by his family and friends and we know he loved us as well.
We could not have been more proud of Glen as a man and for all of his achievements, which included him gaining his degree as an exercise physiologist which became his career for several years.
After moving to Melbourne from the NSW Central Coast, Glen decided he wanted a career change last year, so he applied to Victoria Police and graduated from the Victoria Police Academy on March 12, 2020 and it was a happy and inspirational day that he shared with his family in attendance.
We were all devastated just over a month later to learn that Glen had lost his life along with three of his workmates while on duty. We are all heartbroken and grieving at his loss but we are saddest for Glen himself as we are sure he had future hopes, dreams and ambitions ahead of him, both personally and professionally, but these will never be realised due to this tragic event.
Glen deserved to live a long and happy life and it is hard to believe that he has gone and that we will never see his beautiful smiling face again.
Glen's family would like to thank the Victorian and NSW Police and the community for all their support during this terrible time. The care and respect shown to Glen and his family has been outstanding.
Rest in peace Glen, we all love you forever!
These tributes are excerpts of the full statements by families provided to 9News by Victoria Police.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/four-police-officers-killed-eastern-freeway-tragedy-remembered-police-remembrance-day/7e2ee40a-67f2-4ef8-a910-8f0dbf1eb3e3