A FORMER policeman was last week presented with the Victoria Police Star at the Police Academy. The award recognises police killed or seriously injured in the line of duty.
Senior Constable Peter Steele, of Rye, was on patrol with Sergeant Brian Stooke in Centre-Dandenong Road, Cheltenham, when they were shot by notorious gunman Pavel “Mad Max” Marinof, 12.15am, 9 June 1985.
Stooke was hit four times, with the bullets severing his spinal cord and leaving him a paraplegic; Steele was hit in the shoulder with the bullet passing through his armpit. The shot caused him to drop his gun and take cover.
Although injured he managed to radio for assistance and relay details of the incident and the gunman’s vehicle.
The extent of Senior Constable Steele’s wounds forced him to take 6-8 weeks to recover, and the scars of that painful legacy were still evident last week.
In 1986 – well before the Victoria Police Star was introduced – he was awarded a Highly Commended certificate. Sergeant Stooke was awarded the Victoria Police Star in 2007.
Marinof also shot and wounded Sergeant Ray Kirkwood, who was with Senior Constable Graeme Sayce, Sergeant Garry Morell, of the Dog Squad, Detective Sergeant John Kapentanovski and Senior Detective Rod McDonald.
“It is important that Victoria Police have an award which honours these people and reminds society about the challenges they face every day,” Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation peninsula branch president Darryl Nation, who was at the awards ceremony, said.