Brett Forte.
Brett Forte. News Corp

Slain Toowoomba police officer's colleagues hailed heroes

UPDATE: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has paid a special tribute to Senior Constable Brett Forte as she commended the 21 Queenslanders honoured with Australian Bravery Awards today.

"With six Bravery Medals and 15 Commendations for Brave Conduct awarded to Queensland residents, all of Queensland should today pause to reflect on the actions of these incredible men and women," she said.

"Several of those honoured sustained significant injury and even loss of life as they put the service of others before themselves and their brave acts should be committed to memory."

Among the Queenslanders to receive Bravery Medals are Acting Sergeant Scott Hill, Senior Constables Stephen Barlow and Catherine Nielsen, and Constable Brittany Poulton, who collectively came to the aide of their colleague, Senior Constable Brett Forte, after he was fatally shot by an armed offender in Ringwood on 29 May 2017.

"Amidst continued gunfire, these courageous officers were able to ensure Senior Constable Forte was removed from his vehicle and began first aid in spite of the immediate danger," she said

"I'd like to pay special tribute to Senior Constable Forte, who has been posthumously honoured with a Commendation for Brave Conduct.

"Though it remains a tragedy beyond words, the recognition bestowed upon Senior Constable Forte and his four colleagues today should be a source of pride for their family, friends, the Queensland Police Service and an eternally grateful community."

The late Norman Olsen has been honoured with a Bravery Medal after he pulled his car to the side of a Wilsonton road on the afternoon on 22 February 2016, swiftly intervening in the assault of a young woman.

"By holding the attacker's arm back, Mr Olsen allowed the woman and her two year old daughter to escape this horrendous act of violence," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"Mr Olsen, a Vietnam veteran, was then punched by the attacker and fell back onto the footpath, sadly dying as a result of the injuries he sustained.

"As Mr Olsen's daughter Katie has said, three lives were saved because of his actions that day - the mother and her toddler at the centre of the attack and the man who received Mr Olsen's liver following his death."

"These moving stories serve to remind us that each and every day in Queensland we walk among people, both friends and strangers, who care for our wellbeing and seek to protect us from harm.

"Thanks to all of the remarkable Queenslanders honoured, we are a greater state, a safer state and I am pleased their selfless acts have been recognised today."

The Australian Bravery Decorations recognise acts of bravery by people who put themselves in jeopardy to protect the lives or property of others and nominations are considered twice annually by an independent advisory body.

Brett Forte.
Brett Forte.

EARLIER: The father of slain police officer Senior Constable Brett Forte has hailed his son's colleagues heroes from "a real life action movie".

Today, Sen Const. Forte, along with Senior Constable Cath Nielsen, Senior Constable Stephen Barlow, Acting Sergeant Scott Hill and Constable Brittany Poulton will be presented with Australian Bravery Award honours by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove.

On May 29 last year, Sen Const. Forte and Sen Const. Nielsen were pursuing a wanted gunman at Ringwood in the Lockyer Valley,  when he opened fire, hitting Sen Con Forte multiple times.

Sen Const. Nielsen was able to smash her way out of their overturned police vehicle and pull Sen Const. Forte away from the gunman.

Sen Const. Barlow, Acting Sgt Hill and Const. Poulton then were able to transport Sen Const. Forte away from the scene, but he died soon after.

"It's like watching one of these movies that is non-stop action, but these guys lived it," Sen Const. Forte's father Stuart said.

"It's almost a movie, the different things that happened to each of them that day."

Sen Const. Forte will receive a Commendation for Brave Conduct.

Senior Constables Nielsen and Barlow, and Acting Sgt Hill and Const. Poulton will receive Bravery Medals.

In a statement, Queensland Police Service said the organisation was honoured to have such heroic officers.

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