Local police tribute

THE TRAGIC death of police officers while on duty last week, is a timely reminder to slow down to 40km/h when passing stationary emergency vehicles with their lights on.
On April 22, four officers were killed in a multi vehicle collision in Kew, in Melbourne.
Community members have left floral tributes, cards and candles at Swan Hill police station following the incident to thank police members for their service.
Swan Hill highway patrol officer-in-charge Les McPhee said the incident has heightened their senses while working on the highway.
"We're always risk assessing when we pull up on the highway because of the inherent dangers," Sgt McPhee said.
"This is one of the reasons the 40km/h speed past emergency vehicles was introduced."
The rule was introduced in July, 2017, to improve safety for emergency and enforcement workers.
Sgt McPhee said officers also undertook risk assessments when pulling cars over or working on the highway at a collision scene.
"You're very mindful of that all the time, but this obviously heightens that, the dangers of that are out there when in such high speed areas," he said.
Sgt McPhee said officers could also direct motorists travelling on the highway to exit at the next ramp, to pull them over.
"Or at the same time you'll find that police will park offset behind the vehicle in front, to give them somewhat of a bit of a safety corridor," he said.
Sgt McPhee has thanked community members for the support they have received since the incident.
"I'd like to thank the community for showing their support through this difficult time," he said.
"The support that Victoria Police have received right across Victoria, with messages of condolences and that, is very much appreciated.
"Especially during these difficult times, it is pleasing to see that we do have such great support in the community."
Sgt McPhee said support had been offered to staff "because it could easily have been any of the local police members on the side of the road".
"Being a member of VicPol (Victoria Police), you're one big family," he said.
"When one of us gets hurt, we're all impacted."
Sgt McPhee said the incident was a "very tragic reminder" to slow down when a motorist saw the emergency vehicles lights flashing.
"If the emergency services are working on the side of the road it obviously means they're out of the vehicle and walking around," he said.
"There could also be members of the public walking around.
"It depends what sort of scene we're at."
Superintendent Bec Olsen said police had received "many" messages of support from the Mallee community.
"It is really heart-warming," she said.
"It doesn't matter how far away from this incident we are, the impact is still so close.
"We all have a tightness in our chest because we know it could have happened anywhere."
Tributes were also left at police stations in Wycheproof, Nyah, Kerang and Cohuna.
If you would like to express your condolences online visit the please Victoria Police In Memoriam Facebook group.

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