Source: South Australia Police
A service in honour of National Police Remembrance Day has been held at the Police Academy at Taperoo today.
Hosted by SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens, the service is held each year in memory of police officers killed in the performance of their duty in the region.
It began at 11am at the South Australia Police ‘Wall of Remembrance’ – located at the Police Academy, in memory of the past 61 fallen SA police officers.
Commemorated annually on 29 September, the feast day of Saint Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of police, National Police Remembrance Day is an opportunity to acknowledge the dangers of the policing profession, reflect upon the sacrifices made by dedicated officers and focus on the challenges that lie ahead.
With this year’s National Police Remembrance Day falling on a Sunday, services are being held two days earlier.
The death of Foot Constable Walter Wissell (pictured) was highlighted during the service in an address delivered by Kevin Johnson, the President of the South Australian Police Historical Society.
Constable Wissell, who was a married father of four, joined the police in 1910. He was the fourth secretary of the Police Association and featured prominently in a historic pay dispute with the SA Government in 1918.
On foot patrol in Kadina on Saturday 1 February 1919 he approached a rowdy inebriated man and told him to go home. Instead of doing so, the man lashed out, striking Constable Wissell and a fierce struggle ensued.
The offender, who was identified as 39-year-old labourer William Dibballs later plead guilty to drunkenness and assault and served one imprisonment.
Unfortunately Constable Wissell became seriously ill after his altercation with Dibballs and, despite constant medical treatment, he died of pneumonia and heart failure at Kadina on 24 June 1919 aged 38.
He was buried at the West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, with the grave remaining unmarked and unknown for 92 years, until it discovered in 2011 when the Police Association commissioned a new headstone and held a dedication service.
Invited guests included the Governor Hieu Van Le and representatives from defence, government, emergency services and support agencies. National Police Remembrance Day was first held in 1989.
National Police Remembrance Day memorial services were also being held at Banrock Station, Mount Gambier and Port Augusta, plus tonight Adelaide Oval’s southern stand will be illuminated in blue and white police chequering.