South Australia’s Police Commissioner has spoken publicly to thank the community for its support since the death of his son a month ago.

Key points:

  • SA’s Police Commissioner has spoken publicly to thank the community for its support since the death of his son
  • Grant Stevens’s son, Charlie, died in hospital a day after being hit by a car at Goolwa Beach last month
  • Commissioner Stevens said he would return to work ‘when the time is right’

Grant Stevens spoke at the Oaklands skate park, in Adelaide’s south, on Friday afternoon, with his wife Emma standing by his side.

Their 18-year-old son, Charlie, died in an alleged hit-and-run on the state’s south coast, where he was celebrating Schoolies.

“It was four weeks ago today that Emma and I got the phone call that no parent wants to receive, and as a result of that we lost our Charlie,” Commissioner Stevens said.

“We chose this spot today to offer our thanks to people because this is one of Charlie’s favourite spots, the Oaklands skate park.

“I think he probably spent more time here than with us at home.”

A public memorial service was held for Charlie at Adelaide Oval at the end of November.(ABC News: Michael Clements )

Commissioner Stevens said his family was “overwhelmed by the show of support” from the community, as well as the donations that had been made to Operations Flinders, which the family had asked for in lieu of flowers.

The foundation — which the commissioner is a board member of — works with young people aged 13-18, running an eight-day program in the Northern Flinders Ranges.

“I think we’re at about $173,000 raised in Charlie’s name, which I think will make a big difference to a lot of kids who are struggling to find their way in life,” Commissioner Stevens said.

Commissioner Stevens at times held back tears as he thanked the many people and organisations that had supported his family since Charlie’s death, including “countless people we have never met”.

“It’s really provided us a level of comfort that we didn’t expect and it’s given us the ability to work through this process as we try to figure out what a future looks like without Charlie in it,” he said.

Commissioner Stevens thanked state and federal politicians, including the Prime Minister and opposition leader, for bringing attention to the letter he and his wife had written in the wake of Charlie’s death, which referred to Charlie being the 101st life lost in South Australia this year.

SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens encouraged people to consider organ donation.(Supplied: SA Police)

The letter had reflected that Charlie was “so much more than just a number on a tragic tally”.

That letter also raised the importance of organ donation, something Commissioner Stevens today reiterated.

“Charlie chose to be an organ donor and he was able to assist many other people as a result of that generous decision that he made when he got his driver’s license,” he said.

“And once again we’d like to encourage people to have that conversation with their loved ones about being organ donors, and appreciate that in a time of tragedy you can take some solace in the fact that someone you care deeply about has enabled other families to potentially avoid having to go through a tragic loss.”

Commissioner Stevens said he had not made a decision on when he would return to work.

“I will be coming back when the time is right,” he said.

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