Daughter speaks out to honour suicide police officers

LATE Coast detective Russell Sheehan had a deep respect for the officers whose names adorned the National Police Memorial.

He visited the Canberra monument while on a family trip away in 2014, a year before he tragically took his own life.

His daughter Kaitlyn Pobar believes her dad and all other officers who died like him deserve to be up there.


Late Sunshine Coast police officer Detective Senior Constable Russell Sheehan visits the National Police Memorial in Canberra in 2014.
Late Sunshine Coast police officer Detective Senior Constable Russell Sheehan visits the National Police Memorial in Canberra in 2014. Contributed

Mrs Pobar has added her voice to those Coast residents who have spoken out for the names of officers lost to suicide to be added to state and national memorials.

"It is important to recognise mental illness is an injury," Mrs Pobar said.

"I think it needs to be recognised just like any other physical injury."

She said she supported a national campaign driven by North Queensland man Steven Isles for the names of suicide officers to be added to memorials.

A coroners inquest into the 2009 disappearance of Mr Isles' police officer father, Senior Sergeant Mick Isles, found he had likely committed suicide.

"I know how much dad honoured the people on the wall," Mrs Pobar said.

"I just know his general view was it meant a lot for him to go and be there (national memorial)."

Mrs Pobar said she recognised her father's dedication to his career whether or not his name was added to the memorial.

She said the value of it would come in breaking down stigmas around mental illness as well as being a huge honour for his family.

"I think anyone who puts the (police) uniform on deserves that honour."

Mr Isles has been busy since October last year advocating for the cause.

"We are here to achieve change," Mr Isles said.

Sunshine Coast police district officer Superintendent Darryl Johnson said Commissioner Ian Stewart was considering a number of options in regards to the addition of those officers' names to the state memorial.

"It is important that we as an organisation remember our colleagues who pass away while serving members," Supt Johnson said.

He said a decision on the issue would be made "in due course".

Topics:  maroochydore national police memorial police suicide sunshine coast

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