Remembrance Day honours police
Services are being held throughout the country this morning to pay tribute to the 29 police officers who have been killed in the line of duty since 1890.
The annual Police Remembrance Day also honours the many current and former police officers who have died during the past year.
A wreath was laid today at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Papatoetoe to mark the 20th anniversary of a police helicopter crash in central Auckland in which four occupants, including two police officers, died.
The crash above the intersection of Queen St and Karangahape Rd claimed the lives of Sergeant Lou Grant and Constable Alastair Sampson.
Pilots Ross Harvey and Allan Connors also died in the crash, which occurred because neither pilot saw the other aircraft.
Minister of Justice Judith Collins says the families and friends of all those who died in the crash are "in our thoughts today".
The legacy of all those who have died in the line of duty lives on in New Zealand's current police force, she says.
Police superintendent Mike Clement says the "senseless attack" on Sergeant Simon Tate in Otara this month is a stark symbol of the dangers police face.
"We must always be on guard against the tiny minority who think it is ok to attack a police officer," he says.
Police Association President Greg O'Connor says all police officers know their job is a risky one.
"While members of the public are running away from danger, police officers must run toward it," he says.
"Police Remembrance Day is an occasion for us to reflect on the sacrifices police officers make to willingly confront dangerous situations every day, in service of the public they protect, and to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives doing so."
The last police officer to be killed in the line of duty was Senior Constable Leonard Snee, who was shot in Napier in 2009.
Officers who have died in the past year include Constable Kali Fungavaka, who died of head injuries in a Tongan police cell.
Six men, including five Tongan police officers, pleaded not guilty to his manslaughter in the Supreme Court at Nuku'alofa on August 5.
Also being remembered is Inspector Elizabeth Parker, the country's first female commissioned police officer, and Jean Dougall, the country's first female chief inspector.
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