Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Funeral service for fallen Kiwi police officer, Len Snee. RIP...


LATEST NEWS: A rousing haka has brought an end to the funeral service for fatally shot police officer Len Snee.

Thousands of mourners gathered in Napier today for the funeral of Mr Snee, who was killed by gunman Jan Molenaar on Thursday.

The funeral service was conducted by Napier police chaplain Reverend Trevor Harrison at the Municipal Theatre in downtown Napier.

Six police officers carried the coffin out of the theatre where it was met by a rousing haka by around 100 men which included schoolboys, relatives and former All Blacks Norm Hewitt and Buck Shelford.

Constable Grant Diver, who was also injured by Molenaar during the siege, was wheeled out in his hospital bed to observe the haka for his slain colleague.

Police formed a guard of honour, which stretched around 200 metres down the street. Beside each officer sat a police dog. The casket was carried down the street followed by the family in silent procession.

An Eagle Helicopter did two low swoops as the hearse made its way down the street.

During the funeral service Len Snee was remembered by his sons as a strong, gentle man of few words.

"As most of us know now our dad was a man of few words and not much a public speaker, unfortunately he has passed that trait on to us," said Sam and Joe Snee.

"Many men are strong but unlike our father, few men are capable of having the perfect mix of strength and gentleness."

"All our lives our dad has given us a feeling of security... All our lives we have aspired to be as great a man as our father, and we just hope one day our children can admire us as much as we admired him. Dad we love you."

'A HERO EVERY DAY HE WENT TO WORK'

Police commissioner Howard Broad said: "Vicki, Joe, Sam, other family members. I can barely imagine how you must be feeling. As you are grieving, so too are Len's close colleagues and thousands of police across New Zealand and wherever we may be.

"I know that Senior Constable Len Snee was not one for flowery language. He was straight down the middle, say it as it is. When 10 words would do, he used five."

"So in Len's honour, I will say it as it is."

"Len was not just a hero on the day he died. Len was a hero every day he went to work."

"When Senior Constables Len Snee, Bruce Miller and Grant Diver visited the house on Hospital Hill, they were carrying out a routine search warrant...This one went terribly wrong. The officers were confronted by an armed man who told them to leave. As they attempted to do so, they were shot.

"These men are brave - not just on that day, but every day they went about their routine police work.

"Senior Constable Len Snee: You wore the police uniform for 33 years with pride and honour. We thank you for your dedication and determination. Your humanity, humour, and quiet confidence were valued and respected by your colleagues. We will miss you terribly."

"In the face of this tragedy, it is natural to ask, 'What more could we have done to protect our police?' and to consider if they should carry guns.

"This event was our worst fear.

"Should we make decisions based on our worst fears? If there was a slim chance our officers could return fire, would that make us a better or safer police?

"This out-pouring of grief reminds us that the vast majority of New Zealanders are good, law-abiding people who wish to build communities with trust and confidence, rather than having them controlled with fear and violence."

A police officer for 33 years, Snee was highly respected for his work in the Armed Offenders Squad and in general duties.

'THE MOST COMPLETE POLICE OFFICER I KNOW'

Senior Constable Paul Symonds, colleague of Snee said: "Lenny is the most complete police officer I know. A quiet achiever, the professional man, the manner in which he conducted himself, his fantastic communications skills, and his coolness and unflappable dedication to the job that Len loved. Len is so highly respected in the community.

"We will toast you today Len, and I know even bad people will, such is the mana of this great man.

"Len loved his armed offenders, the ultimate team man, he was always the first to forward, so skilled, so intelligent and highly revered... you have taught me well Len, you have taught us all well.

"We will carry our memories of you in our hearts for many years to come. We have grieved for five days, today we show our pride.

"Stand down brother, you have just received your last page, 000, you are now on leave."

GUARD OF HONOUR

Police formed a guard of honour as the black hearse arrived at the theatre. Crowds of thousands stood in silence as the coffin carrying the body of Mr Snee was brought into the theatre by his sons and four other family members. His wife Vicki walked behind.

The coffin was draped in a New Zealand flag and had a police cap on top of it.

Among those present at the funeral service were the Prime Minister John Key, Police Commissioner Howard Broad and Police Minister Judith Collins.

Maori Affairs minister Pita Sharples and opposition MPs were also in attendance.

Mr Snee was shot dead by gunman Molenaar last Thursday, while Senior Constables Bruce Miller and Grant Diver were critically injured, as was civilian Leonard Holmwood.

The investigation into Mr Snee's death had been very difficult for the officers involved, Superintendent Rod Drew told reporters today.

"Many of us knew Lenny (Snee) well, some of us knew him very well.

"I feel very proud of them all because they've shown real grit in getting on with the job and so this afternoon the investigation team will join with Len Snee's family, his friends and the greater police family as we mourn his cruel and tragic death."

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National HomepageShare this page Email Facebook Myspace Digg StumbleUpon Delicious Reddit 16 comments
Post a comment Keith O'Donnell #16 3:27pm
Len May you rest in peace.

Zyan #15 3:23pm
A very very tragic event! In the minds of many, if only... unfortunately there is none of "if only", only "what if".

Hope such tragedy that has resulted in unnecessary loss of lives doesn't happen all that frequently. Time for everyone to get rid of guns, marijuana and cannabis from their houses.

To Snee and Molenaar familes, we all share your grief in the devastating losses. RIP, Len Snee.

Ganesh Doddi #14 3:07pm
May your soul rest in peace.

A caring Kiwi #13 3:06pm
I never knew you but I am sure that I would have loved and admired you like all your family, friends and work mates, rest in peace and thank you for helping to make our country safer. You like all Police officers and emergency services that assist in keeping the average kiwi safe are true heroes and I know you made a difference. I send my hugs and prayers to those that knew you well and know they are truly blessed to have an angel like you watching over them.

Rest in peace and again Thank you.

True Blue Cantab......

Karen #12 3:06pm
An extremely sad day for Napier... May Snr Constable Snee rest in peace. He was a very valuable asset to Napier. Thoughts also to the other two police and the civilian involved.

Deidre Watson #11 3:03pm
To Mrs Snee, Joe and Sam, your husband and dad, Senior Constable Snee is a very highly respected man by the Police Force and so many New Zealanders. This loss of such a fine policeman has been touched by many New Zealanders all over the world. May the many outstanding tributes to your husband and dad help you in your time of grief. May Senior Constable Snee rest in peace.

One day at a time.

Mel #10 3:01pm
Beautiful words for a man who quite clearly deserved them. RIP.

Justine #9 3:00pm
What an amazing number of statements and sentences about this man who was not just a policeman but obviously an extremely well respected member of the public in his community and more than obviously an amazing family man to his wife, sons and extended family. I have tears flowing just reading these comments and I don't know him but I think the whole country feels for all concerned and feel like we knew him. My heart goes to all who are directly affected by Constable Snee's passing. You didn't deserve to go this way and you and your colleagues do an amazing job in our country. Three cheers to you all.

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