The police came from far and wide, top brass and junior constables alike, to see justice done for the murder of their mate and colleague Senior Constable David Rixon.
Now the NSW Supreme Court has given them what they wanted – a life sentence for the man who pulled the trigger, Michael Alan Jacobs.
In a landmark decison, Jacobs, 48, has become the first person to be sentenced to life in prison under new laws requiring a mandatory life sentence for anyone who murders a police officer in the course of his or her duty.
He will spend the rest of his life in jail with no chance for parole.
On March 2 last year, Jacobs shot and killed Constable Rixon, a 40-year-old father of six, during what the officer had thought was a regulation breath test on Lorraine Street, West Tamworth.
During a month long trial earlier this year, the court was told that the experienced highway patrolman had recognised Jacobs as a disqualified driver and followed him from nearby Gunnedah Road to a block of flats on the quiet side street.
Constable Rixon's police microphone recorded him saying: "G'day mate, how you going?"
In an increasingly distressed voice he is then heard to say: "I'm just gonna breath test you buddy."
Jacobs then fired a single shot from a .38 calibre pistol that went straight through Senior Constable Rixon's left wrist and into his chest, puncturing his heart and lung.
The officer returned fire, hitting Jacobs in the leg, abdomen and shoulder, but collapsed onto the ground soon after.
Jacobs is heard to say "die . . . I'm sorry sir, sorry, sorry".
The officer's last act was to handcuff his killer. He died in hospital later that day, becoming the 251st officer killed on duty in NSW.
A day earlier 800 officers had marched proudly down George Street to celebrate 150 years of policing.
Jacobs later claimed that it was not he but a local drug dealer, Terrance James Price, who fired the fatal shot after Senior Constable Rixon "interrupted" them in the middle of a drug deal.
But audio and video from the officer's in-car camera do not record anyone else being involved in the incident, and Mr Price told the trial he was in bed with his girlfriend at the time.
"That's the first time I've heard of that," he said when Jacobs' barrister, Tim Hoyle, SC, suggested the alternative scenario.
The jury also heard a secretly recorded conversation between Jacobs and his girlfriend, in which the former said: "Wish I hadn't have had the gun . . . wish I hadn't have got the shits that morning . . ."
The jury found Jacobs guilty at 2.32pm on July 15 after deliberating for less than an hour.
As well as providing some relief to Senior Constable Rixon's family and fellow officers, the life sentence represents a landmark decision for the state's mandatory life sentencing laws.
Jacobs' case was seen by many as a test of the laws, introduced in 2011, which require judges to impose a life sentence on any offender found guilty of murdering an on-duty police officer.