Broadmeadows police officer Neil Clinch died after being shot while on a job at Fawkner.
The Blue Ribbon Foundation last week paid tribute to Constable Clinch, naming a high-acuity wing in the paediatric area of Northern Hospital’s emergency department in his honour.
Constable Clinch had been in the force just short of two years when he has shot on April 4, 1987.
The 22-year-old was one of a group of police officers who went to a flat in Lorne Street, Fawkner, to investigate a stabbing. Police surrounded the building and Constable Clinch was sent to the rear of the property.
A man armed with a .22-calibre rifle came out of a rear door and was tackled by Constable Clinch. At the same time, a police officer fired two shots. Constable Clinch was struck in the head by one of the bullets.
He was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, where he died the following day.
Constable Clinch’s brother, Lindsay, said it was a sliding doors moment that led to his brother’s death, as he wasn’t meant to be working that day.
An avid footballer, he had arranged to have Saturdays off to play for West Coburg, but was reported a couple of weeks earlier and suspended for the April 4 match.
“Because he wasn’t playing, he got a phone call the night before to fill in for a sick colleague,” Mr Clinch said.
“It could seem like fate.”
Constable Clinch graduated from the academy in June, 1985, and was initially stationed at Moonee Ponds before moving to Heidelberg and then Broadmeadows.
“For such a short career in the police force, he obviously made an impact,” Mr Clinch said.
“I think he was going to be a very good police officer.”
Mr Clinch said the Northern Hospital tribute meant his brother’s name would continue to live on.
A Neil Clinch Award is presented by Broadmeadows police to its most outstanding officer each year, while West Coburg Football Club has named a trophy in his honour.
“[The high-acuity wing] is a dedication to our brother and son and adds a bit of solace to unfortunate events,” Mr Clinch said.
“I can remember it vividly … it is hard enough to lose a brother, but a child …”
Blue Ribbon Foundation northern metro branch president Helen Walsh said choosing to name the wing after Constable Clinch was an easy decision.
“We knew he was such a worthy recipient,” she said, making a special mention of Constable Clinch’s mother, Evie.
“It means a lot to be able to say to her that not only is Neil not forgotten, but his memory will live on for generations,” she said.