Honouring the fallen

AN adventurous young man who wanted to help people will be one of eight officers acknowledged on Police Remembrance Day, when a memorial wall is unveiled in their honour at Lake Illawarra Police Station.

Robert Brotherson from Oak Flats was working in a cake shop with his parents in 2001 when he and his wife, Melissa, decided he would follow his dream to be a police officer.

But the dream was cut short on February 1, 2002, when the student officer was critically injured in a collision between a police car and a truck.

His life support was turned off eight days later.

The 29-year-old left behind two young sons, Blake and Ewan, who are now 14 and 13.

Melissa Brotherson said she was pleased Lake Illawarra Police had decided to recognise the eight officers.

"A lot of people don't realise that our local police take risks to protect the community," she said.

"That Rob was a student police officer makes it even more special - the fact that the police family still honours someone just at the start of their career."

Ms Brotherson remembered her late husband as an "old-fashioned gentleman" who did not shy away from a skydive or a bungy jump.

"He had a sense of compassion and empathy - he was the type of kid to take in a hurt animal and that extended to people," she said.

"He wasn't there [in the police force] for the glory, he wanted to help people."

The command area has lost eight officers since 1951, either while on duty or as a result of injuries sustained on the job.

An outdoor commemorative plaque will be unveiled on Police Remembrance Day, September 29, and the station flag will be lowered to half-mast.

Along with Mr Brotherson, police will remember Constable Peter Carter who was killed in 1988, Detective Constable Steven Tier (1985), Constable Peter Hardacre (1962), Constable Francis Burke (1961), Sergeant Allen Nash (1956), Sergeant William Smith (1951) and Constable Frederick McLaughlan, who was medically discharged in 1930 and died in 1938.

Lake Illawarra Local Area Commander Wayne Starling encouraged families of the fallen to come forward so they could be invited to the ceremony and contribute photographs for the display.

Family members can contact Sergeant Jason Harrison on 4232 5326 or email HARR2JAS@police.nsw.gov.au.

They can also send a personal message via the Lake Illawarra Local Area Command's Eyewatch page on Facebook by visiting facebook.com/LakeillawarraLAC.

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