Police who died before AOS began remembered
A ceremony has been held to remember the four police officers whose deaths 50 years ago sparked the formation of Armed Offenders Squads (AOS).
New Zealand was one of the first countries in the world to have a specialised division dedicated to armed callouts.
On the February 3 1963 Constable Bryan Schultz and Constable James Richardson were shot in their patrol car with a high calibre rifle in Lower Hutt after they were called to a domestic dispute.
A month earlier, Detective Sergeant Neville Power and Detective Inspector Wallace Chalmers were shot and killed in the Waitakere ranges in west Auckland when they went to what was described as a "gun battle".
The four deaths were the catalyst for a special police division trained and adequately equipped to deal with armed criminals.
Mr Power was just 25 when he died and left behind his wife of three years, Valerie Power.
“The Armed Offenders Squad is something to be proud of and it's a lovely feeling to think that Neville was part of the beginning but I just wish he was here to see it all himself,” she said today.
Mr Chalmers' wife May Mackey was off to meet her husband after work with their two young children, but he never came home.
“I was preparing them in their double pram so I thought I’d ring and find what direction he's coming. They said ‘sorry he is not here’. That rang a warning bell.”
There are now 17 squads throughout New Zealand covering all main centres.
Since it was established nearly 50 years ago, no members of the AOS have been killed in an operation.
The squad will hold its 50th anniversary in August next year.