THE deep love and respect that Daniel John Cahill inspired among his peers over more than 40 years was on full display at St Mary's Church yesterday.
Unfortunately, the enormous gathering of police officers, family and friends was not a retirement send-off, but a final celebration for a life cut tragically short.
Senior Sergeant Cahill passed away suddenly on September 5, aged 57, leaving behind wife Louise and children David and Ashleih.
The Ipswich born-and raised police officer was planning his retirement after a 42-year career which included 30 years' service in his beloved home town.
The latter years of Snr Sgt Cahill's career were spent running the Ipswich Communications Centre, which he had passionately served and refused to desert amid plans to relocate operations to Brisbane.
Seating inside St Mary's Church was almost completely filled, as family members, friends and former colleagues paid their respects and shared some mostly funny stories about the Ipswich cop and his competitive nature.
It was shortly after graduating from the Oxley academy in 1976 that Snr Sgt Cahill was stationed in Townsville.
It was here that he met the love of his life, Louise.
He also worked and played alongside Steve Grainger and Paul White - men who would go on to be long-time friends.
The trio shared a love of police work, but also of enjoying a drink and a bit of mischief during the late 70s and early 80s.
Although some of Mr Grainger and Mr White's stories resembled those told at a man's wedding, rather than his funeral, they had the crowd laughing and smiling.
Mr Grainger ended by reminding Snr Sgt Cahill's children that their father: "was and always would be a great man".
Daughter Ashleih said her father was a selfless friend and her personal hero.
"After 42 years in the police he was really looking forward to retirement," she said.
"He was planning to play golf at his leisure with a pimped-up golf buggy with personalised number plates."
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart spoke of a committed, thorough and versatile police officer who worked tirelessly during times of crisis - including the floods of 2011.
Snr Sgt Cahill earned several medals and awards for service, including the 40 years clasp and flood and cyclone citation.
Senior Ipswich police including Snr Sgt Gareth James and Brett Wendt said there was much more to their former colleague.
"Dan always went 110% in looking after the workers," Snr Sgt James said.
"He was talking about retirement but he staid on to ensure the best outcome for Ipswich Communications Centre staff. He was looking out for 26 other people there.
"His main concern was looking out for his troops."
The troops turned out in force for the funeral, forming a guard of honour along Elizabeth St after the ceremony to see off the procession.
A wake was held at the Ipswich Showgrounds.
Snr Sgt Wendt said the former officer in charge of the communications centre did a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure police operations ran smoothly.
"He was a planner and an organiser who was articulate and precise," he said.
"In a selfish way I never wanted him to retire - now instead of a send-off we have just been to his funeral.
"He is a big loss for us all."
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