Sunshine bathed a crowd of residents who gathered to pay their respects to police killed in the line of duty at a memorial service in Warrnambool today.
About 50 people attended the National Police Remembrance Day service held at South West TAFE's memorial site at the city's former police station and court house.
The first in-person gathering since 2019 began at 11am with a march, followed by a welcome to country led by Uncle Locky Eccles and Robbie Lowe Senior.
Warrnambool mayor Vicki Jellie, council chief executive officer Peter Scheider, representatives of the RSL and members of the CFA and Ambulance Victoria also attended.
Warrnambool police Superintendent Martin Hardy said the gathering honoured 175 police officers who'd lost their lives since the organisation's inception in 1853.
"Today is a very special day for Victoria Police," he said.
"The National Remembrance Day for police officers killed in the line of duty encourages them and their families to honour the memory of their colleagues who've given their lives in the service of their community.
"It reminds us of the difficulties they face in bearing their responsibilities. The memorial you see here today honours the memory of all our colleagues who've lost their lives whilst on duty serving the Warrnambool and district community."
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The first of those was Constable Daniel O'Boyle who was struck in the head with a mason's hammer by an escaping prisoner at the Warrnambool Court House on August 4, 1863. He died hours later.
Sergeant George Dodds was stabbed in the abdomen while arresting a drunk at the Star of the West Hotel Belfast (now Port Fairy) in May, 1958. He died of his wounds in August, 1959.
Constable William Sharrock drowned in the Hopkins River on January 9, 1921 while trying to save a group of people aboard a sinking vessel 'The Nestor'.
First Constable James Brewis, of Lismore police, was killed in a motor vehicle collision while on duty on November 28, 1954.
Police chaplain reverend Geoff Barker said the loss of those officers corralled gratitude to present-day police.
"Five years ago on this day, we blessed this memorial to the police who died in the line of duty in our region," he said.
"As we gather around it today, may it not only remind us of the past but make us grateful for all that we have and all who still do make life safe as it is for us today.
"May the story it tells make us as citizens of Warrnambool grateful for our police who put themselves at risk daily. Each of those police went to work and expected an ordinary day ... Our police face this risk every day.
"It's been a long time since a police member in our region died in the course of their work, but all of them see and experience horrible things regularly - many suffer trauma from what they've experienced and there's the stress and costs to their families.
"They take these risks and bare these scars not for the pay, holidays or power but because they care for our community."
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