Family, friends and Victoria Police colleagues have paid tribute to Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, who was killed along with three other officers in a truck crash on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway last week.
A private ceremony was held at the Victoria Police Academy with only handful of people attending due to restrictions on social gatherings.
The service was live-streamed for family and police colleagues.
Police officers observed a minute of silence in her honour after the service and the Police Air Wing staged a flyover.
A wreath was laid in her honour by the Minister for Police, Lisa Neville, deputy commissioners of Victoria Police and representatives of the Police Association.
Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said Leading Senior Constable Taylor was a “gorgeous, vibrant person” who was committed to her family and friends.
Her family will be lost without her, he said after the service, because she looked after everyone and cared for everyone.
“She was a credit, not only to Victoria Police, ” he said.
“She looked after everyone. She cared for everyone.”
He said Leading Senior Constable Taylor lived life to the fullest.
“She wasn’t waiting to finish her police career to start living. She started living a long long time ago,” he said.
“She’s enjoyed a full, full life and leaves behind a legacy that will be difficult to replace.”
Police Assocciation secretary Wayne Gatt said Lynette Taylor was a hero who was “trying to protect us all”.
“We must always remember behind every uniform is a family and behind that family at the moment are grieving people we need to support,” he said.
The three other officers killed in the crash, Constable Glen Humphris, Constable Joshua Prestney and Senior Constable Kevin King, will be farewelled in coming days.
The incident represents the largest loss of officer lives in a single event in Victoria Police history.
It is expected a full-honours funeral will be held once coronavirus restrictions are lifted in Victoria.
‘You will always be remembered’
Leading Senior Constable Taylor had a distinguished 31-year-career at Victoria Police, serving most of her time in the road policing division.
She was a recipient of the National Medal first clasp — 25 years, the National Police Service medal and the Victoria Police Service medal fourth clasp — 30 years.
Leading Senior Constable Taylor is survived by her husband Stuart Schultz, a former Victoria Police officer, and their two sons, Nathan and Alexander.
“My thoughts are with Stuart Schultz, her husband, and of course her colleagues,” Ms Neville said.
“These were incredibly committed, passionate police officers, who had spent for some, many years making our community safer and two who were just new recruits who wanted to make a big difference to Victoria.
“Today I say thank you to Lynette — you made a huge difference to keeping our community safe and you will always be remembered for that contribution.”
The Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Graham Ashton, said a public memorial would be held for the officers once social distancing restrictions are lifted.
A Victoria Police obituary said Leading Senior Constable Taylor and her husband had been building their dream retirement home overlooking Bass Strait, on the south-east coast of Victoria, to pursue their love of travel and fishing.
She was remembered for her sense of adventure after having sailed around the South Pacific Ocean on a yacht and having travelled the world.
“She had a great sense of humour and her colleagues will fondly remember seeing her smiling face every day,” the obituary said.
The refrigerated semi-trailer truck, driven by Mohinder Singh, crashed into the four officers about 5:40pm on April 22 after the officers intercepted an allegedly speeding Porsche on the Eastern Freeway at Kew.
The four officers had been standing in the emergency lane of the freeway as they prepared to impound the car, which was being driven by 41-year-old Melbourne mortgage broker Richard Pusey.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton previously said that the truck was travelling at 100 kilometres per hour and appeared to have moved from the right-most lane of the freeway to the emergency lane shortly before it hit.
Mr Singh has been charged with four counts of culpable driving causing death and was remanded in custody when he made a brief appearance in court.
He will return to court in October.
Mr Pusey was remanded in custody charged with nine offences, including speeding, failing to assist at a crash and drug offences.