Remembering officers who didn't come home

THE last time Gail Mayerle saw her husband he had popped home to get a rain coat before heading back to the police station.

The next police uniform she saw wasn't worn by her husband returning to their North Rockhampton home.

It was an inspector breaking the news that Constable Michael Low had been shot on the job.

Constable Low was tasked to a domestic dispute on Duthie Avenue, North Rockhampton, on February 29, 1984, with his partner Constable Derek Pickless.

As the pair approached the residence Constable Low was in the lead.

He knocked on the door and a shot was fired from inside the flat hitting him in the chest and knocking him to the ground.

Constable Pickless dragged his fatally injured partner to safety behind a retaining wall and continued to trade fire with the armed man inside the residence while breaking cover twice to radio for assistance.

When police back-up arrived, the wife of the armed man came out of the flat and told the officers her husband had taken his life.

Constable Low, who was described as a “gentle giant” died at the scene.

He is one of 137 officers who will be remembered on National Police Remembrance Day tomorrow.

On Friday, Mrs Mayerle, who has remarried, spoke to The Morning Bulletin about her late husband's death.

They had only been married for six weeks when Constable Low was killed, and Mrs Mayerle's two-year-old son thought of him as his father.

They never got the chance to have children of their own.

She said as a police officer's wife there was always a worry that her husband would never come home but it was something “you put in the back of your mind”.

“The last time I saw him he came home to get a raincoat and then went back to work,” she said.

“Then I saw an inspector come up the stairs and I said, 'Are you looking for Michael?' He said no, he was looking for me.”

After Constable Low's death, Mrs Mayerle moved back home with her parents at Noosa.

But there isn't a day she doesn't think about her husband and the many other officers who are still out there protecting the city.

“I think things have got even worse and it's a lot harder for them,” she said.

“People have attitude and too much anger.”

Constable Pickless was later awarded the George Medal for Bravery.

Rockhampton Dog Squad officer Senior Constable Norm Watt will also be remembered on Tuesday.

He was fatally shot while attending a domestic incident at Alton Downs on July 21, 2000.

National Police Remembrance Day is the most significant day on the policing calendar as members of the Queensland Police Service, family, friends and the community pay their respects to the fallen by attending candlelight vigils, marches and memorial services.

Blue ribbons are available from any police station free of charge.

Donations are accepted and will go towards charities, Queensland Police Legacy and Community Supporting Police.


National Police Remembrance Day services in Rockhampton:

•Today : Rockhampton Candlelight Vigil at Police Memorial Park, Bolsover Street, Rockhampton at 7pm.

•Tomorrow: Rockhampton Memorial Service at the Salvation Army Worship Centre, 131 Park Street, North Rockhampton at 10am. The service will be preceded by a march from Park Street at 9.30am.

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