SENIOR Constable Kelly Foster, stationed at Lithgow Police, tragically lost her life while trying to save another.
She was involved, along with her 24 year-old companion, in a canyoning incident in the Blue Mountains two days into the New Year.
The Lithgow Mercury reached out to Sen Const Kelly Foster's colleagues who shared their memories and paid tribute to the loss of a courageous police officer.
Senior Constable Kelly Foster can be summed up in many words, but anybody who has ever had the pleasure to meet Kelly, the first words that would come to mind would be "genuinely nice".
From the moment she entered our lives at the Lithgow Police Station she made an impact. She was quiet but confident, intelligent and happy. She brought a sense calm to what can be at times a hectic daily environment.
Kelly had spent most of her career in metro areas the last number of years in the Intelligence unit of the Sex Crimes branch of the State Crime Agencies, working on many critical jobs including the Lindt Cafe Siege and Mann Monas where she was awarded a Unit Citation for her work.
Her knowledge and skills in the intelligence area were second to none.
An opportunity arose for her to leave the metro area and take a position in general duties at Lithgow close to her home in the majestic Blue Mountains.
Here she could pursue her other passion of outdoor adventure and soak up the all the Mountains had to offer, with her partner Gavin who had similar interests.
The transition from an office job back to front line policing of general duties for Kelly was seamless.
Her ability to adapt to an ever changing day, different policies and procedures and dealing with all members of the community was totally professional - this was typical of Kelly's character.
Although Kelly was small in stature, her wit, knowledge and fearless intent shone through every shift, making her a formidable adversary against the community's criminal "underbelly".
Kelly brought happiness to the day to day grind of a turbulent ever changing shift. She was funny, often squinting up her nose in laughter, she would also squint up her nose at horrible sights that police see daily but in true form remained very professional.
You could say that the majority of the community and people respect police and understand the trials and tribulations they go through.
Every now and then an officer arrives, that stands out from the rest, Kelly was one of those officers. She gained respect from both the general community and the offenders she dealt with, neither would have a bad word to say about her.
Even though Kelly had only been working at Lithgow for a short time she was immediately part of the family and it seemed like she had been there for years, she had brought skills that we had not seen before and probably won't see again.
Many police see themselves as just a number in the complex matrix of the NSW police force, but officer 46412 was not just a number, although her job will be replaced, she cannot be replaced.
In policing the biggest honour you could have from your colleagues is if they want to work with you. Kelly did her colleagues proud, the community proud, herself and her family proud.
Her final act on this earth was one of selfless heroism.
You excelled one final time now you can rest. No more trauma. No more sadness. No more despair.
Be comforted in the arms of St Michael and know that you will never be forgotten.
Our hearts are heavy and broken, your second family, the NSW Police Force. Thank you for your service.
Kelly is survived by her mother and father Terry and Marilyn, her sister Leigh and her brother Adam, her partner Gavin and an extensive extended family.
Kelly's funeral will be held on Thursday, January 14 at Hoskins Church from 12.30pm.
It is noted that family and police take priority to enter the church with current COVID-19 restrictions.
However those wishing to pay their respects can do so through gathering outside in the church grounds with a limit of 200 people.
A police congregation will follow down Lithgow's Main Street.