Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding was shot about two weeks ago when he arrived during an armed holdup in progress at a Gold Coast tavern. He was honoured on Tuesday 7th June 2011 at a public funeral, having died of his wounds. It was announced at his funeral that he would be posthumously awarded the Queensland Police Service’s highest medal for valour, for the courage he showed that night. Aged 35, he leaves two very young children and his wife to mourn him. Hundreds of mourners lined the route taken by his funeral procession, led by a contingent of Police marching in uniform.
Many folk lose sight of the fact that a policeman’s or a policewoman’s daily life is fraught with potential danger. They never know whether the next call they respond to will be fatal for them, or the next vehicle they pull over will have a desperate armed criminal inside, intent on escaping arrest and gaol, or just a speeding young mum running late to collect her toddler from kindy. As more and more cretins drink to the point of losing control of any vestige of common sense they may ever have had, so the danger of assault on the job increases, and the need to use greater force to bring situations under control once again.
Men like Damian Leeding, and the women who serve alongside those men, deserve our respect and our admiration in the pursuit of their every-day duties. They have a right to expect the rest of us to adhere to the law and behave like sensible adults, instead of like cretinous juveniles. They have a right to expect us to give them our support as they go about their duties. Damien’s murder is a timely reminder to us now of these expectations. I for one salute them as they attempt to hold the thin blue line.