Lone white teddy, a grieving widow, and a sea of blue
A LONE, white teddy bear placed on a coffin. A grieving widow still mourning her profound loss. A uniformed sea of blue numbering in their thousands.
It was a solemn farewell to Toowoomba policeman Brett Andrew Forte, the senior constable who vowed to protect his community and colleagues from harm.
More than 4000 people paid their final respects to the Tactical Crime Squad officer gunned down in the line of duty late last month.
Snr Const. Forte was remembered as a dedicated husband, father, son, friend and colleague who gave his all to those he loved.
In a stirring address to the packed-out Clive Berghofer auditorium, his widow Susan Forte summoned untold strength to thank her policing family for its support. She also paid tribute to the first responders who tried to save her husband's life.
"It gives me great comfort to know he was with close friends, particularly his work-wife Cath, when he passed," Mrs Forte said.
"I promise to raise our children with the values you hold dear.
"I will miss your inappropriate comments that always made me laugh so much.
"You were my hero and my soulmate, and I will love you forever."
Daughter Emma said Snr Const. Forte filled every definition of a hero and spoke of her loss of a close confidant; the man she would turn to for advice and who "made me who I am today".
"Brett, to the world you may be one person but to your family you were the world," she said.
"Rest in peace, my guardian angel. Fly high."
The slain policeman was a hero from childhood, an avid and accomplished athlete and a man dedicated to those he loved.
"At three years old, your hero status began when you pulled your cousin Kylie out of granddad Forte's fish pond," his brothers Luke and Chris read on behalf of his parents Heather and Stuart yesterday.
"Over the years you had many and varied jobs but your heart was always set on being a police officer.
"So it was with great pride and joy we watched you graduate."
Top-ranking officials from police forces in Australia, New Zealand and the United States paid their respects to their colleague, a final farewell with full honours.
"From the youngest to the oldest, from around the state and across the nation, we have come together as one; to mourn the loss of a man who lost his life to a mindless, senseless act of pure evil," Reverend Jeff Baills said.
A silent 600m guard of honour formed by former and current police officers, emergency services and first responders saluted Snr Const Forte one last time on Baker St before a private burial at the Garden of Remembrance.