Constable Joshua Prestney had been a policeman only for a few months when he was killed on duty by a truck on a Melbourne freeway.
But you wouldn’t know that from the impression he made on colleagues.
“Josh was only in for a very short time but he might as well have been in for 20 years,” Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent said, after laying a wreath in the officer’s honour in Melbourne on Monday.
“The connections that he’s made, the difference that he’s made in police lives … he’ll be forever remembered.”
Constable Prestney was killed alongside Leading Senior Constable Lynnette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King and Constable Glen Humphris while they were impounding a Porsche on the Eastern Freeway at Kew on April 22.
The 28-year-old had graduated from the police academy only in December 2019. At the time, his brother Alex – a fellow officer – presented him with his badge.
His colleagues told Mr Nugent it was clear Constable Prestney had a bright future in the force.
“He was such a caring man and so many commented that he had such a career ahead of him in whatever part of policing he chose,” he said.
“That’s been tragically cut short.
“But Josh will be forever remembered. He will be forever a part of the Victoria Police family and he will always, always, to us be a hero.”
During Monday’s private funeral to honour Constable Prestney at his former school, Xavier College, those assembled heard of his love of music, triathlons and his family, along with his calling to police work.
A Foo Fighters song he loved was among those played at the ceremony.
Constable Prestney had even encouraged his brother to support his musical passion.
“He loved the guitar and he needed someone on drums so he co-opted his brother Alex to learn the drums when they were quite young,” Mr Nugent said.
Police Association Secretary Wayne Gatt said Constable Prestney’s mother had spoken of how even as a child he had been the kind of person to look out for others and ensure people were given a go.
He is the final officer of the four killed to be farewelled at funerals.
A state memorial service will be held when coronavirus measures, including a 10-person funeral limit, are lifted.
Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville said the deaths have touched the state “in a way that not many other things do”.
“We’ve seen outpouring of grief and love and compassion for Victoria Police members right across the state,” she said.
“I hope as we leave today, as we say our final goodbye to our final constable who lost their lives selflessly, that we take that with us.”
Truck driver Mohinder Singh has been charged with culpable driving causing the officers’ deaths.
Porsche driver Richard Pusey, who allegedly fled the scene, has been charged with other offences, including reckless conduct endangering life and failing to render assistance.