Brett Forte's parents grateful for region's support
A YOUNG boy kneels to lay a bouquet to the growing memorial for Brett Forte.
He pauses slightly, ignores the cameras, and appears to reflect on his actions.
The flowers are soon lost in the sea of tributes to the heroic senior constable, but his resolve to join the Queensland Police Service when he grows up has strengthened.
The young boy is one of hundreds of people who have laid loving tributes to the officer since he was gunned down while on duty on Monday.
A card amid the memorial thanks Snr Const Forte for his service, and is reflective of how the community views its servicemen and women on the front line.
"Sad that it takes the loss of one of our police service for thanks to be given to all," the message read.
The heroic officer's mother, Heather Forte, said it was heart-warming to know the men and women who served alongside her son were respected and recognised for their duty to the community.
"That's good - that's what we would like to see, the respect for police," she said.
"People don't usually realise how close the police is as a family, and everybody supports one another, if somebody is sick or goes down.
"We need the people that worked with Brett, and the first responders, to get the recognition they deserve," Mrs Forte said.
"We need them to know that."
For her husband, Stuart Forte, knowing Toowoomba has shown its genuine love for his son has been a comfort amid profound grief and sadness.
"It is overwhelming to a certain extent because in this instance my son is a genuine hero and I think that the community realises that," he said.
"So there's an even greater outpouring of grief for not only him but as police officers go out on every shift and don't know what they are going to come up against."
Snr Const Forte will be given a state funeral at the Clive Berghofer Recreation Centre next Wednesday, the only venue in the city large enough to accommodate the officer's contingent of family, friends and mourners.
Among them will be his police partner whose heroics have been revealed to Snr Const Forte's family.
Mr Forte said the chance meeting with his son's former partner at the makeshift memorial late Thursday night was raw with emotion and gratitude for his son's heroics.
The tragedy has spurred a shift in support for the police, with officers being stopped on the streets and thanked for their service.
That support has flowed across the state, Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said.
"On the streets of Toowoomba, people have come up to me to tell me their story and how they support, respect, and appreciate us as police," the Queensland Police Union president said.
"The initial shock and disbelief that I think everyone across Toowoomba and the Darling Downs first felt when they heard about Brett's murder has given way to a sense of community, of rallying together to support police, and resolving to try to ensure the events of this past week do not occur again.
"Brett's murder has not just meant a grieving family, or a grieving police force; a whole city is in mourning and although we will recover we will never be the same.
"It has been truly humbling seeing first hand how the community of Toowoomba and the broader Darling Downs has come together to support police and their families."