SA police commissioner Grant Stevens opens up about son Cahrlie’s death

South Australian police commissioner Grant Stevens has spoken publicly for the first time on returning to work following the tragic death of his youngest son Charlie in a tragic car crash.

The widely respected top cop revealed he “never really contemplated” not returning to work after Charlie was killed in an alleged hit-and-run crash while out celebrating schoolies with friends in November last year.

The death rocked the state and the country and Mr Stevens took an extended period of leave to deal with the trauma of losing the beloved 18-year-old.

“My wife Emma has made it pretty clear that she is happy to have dinner with me every night but she doesn’t want to have lunch with me every day too,” he said on Wednesday morning to a burst of laughter from Adelaide radio hosts David Penberthy and Will Goodings.

“It didn’t leave me a lot of options.

“I needed a bit of time with Emma and the kids to work through what happened but it’s good to be back to be able to focus on something different.”

The radio hosts asked Commissioner Stevens whether other South Australian road deaths would remind him of his own family’s heartbreak and make the job too tough to bear, but the commissioner replied there were “so many reminders” of Charlie and “this is just another one”.

“It’s a daily thing, you’re constantly thinking about your little fella, and him not being here, that’s part of the job,” he said.

“I never really contemplated about not coming back, I feel like there is more to be done.

“We are in some challenging times in policing, in terms of recruiting.

“I feel like I’ve got a role to play over the next few years to make sure we are as good as we can be and we live up to those expectations.”

Charlie’s death hit home for thousands of Australians. At the time South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas said “bad things” can happen to good people.

“They are good people. We all too often find ourselves desperately wishing that bad things don’t happen to good people. Yet too often that is the case, and this is clearly an example of it,” Mr Malinauskas said on November 18 on the day Charlie died.

Charlie was farewelled in a funeral service at the Adelaide Oval.

Addressing his son directly in his eulogy, Mr Stevens said: “Charlie, your mum and I love you. We are devastated that you were taken from us so soon.

“We said you were a force of nature, full of energy, unstoppable. Unforgettable.

“We are heartbroken (but) we can’t think of you without smiling.

“We have missed you every day since we said goodbye and we will always miss you forever, Charlie boy.”

Commissioner Stevens returned to work in January said he had “eased back into it (the job) gently”.

Deputy Commissioner Linda Williams assumed acting commissioner duties while Commissioner Stevens took leave and she has now returned to her deputy role.

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