Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Reflecting on a Job Well Done

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Reflecting on a Job Well Done

Article excerpt

Byline: WORDS Jessica Grewal, APN Newsdesk

TREVOR Walter has spent time in the company of many a violent criminal but it's a love of motorbikes that has one of Coffs Harbour's longest serving police officers resting his feet.

He's eager to enjoy his recently- announced retirement as soon as possible but with a fractured leg -- sustained just before Christmas when his bike landed on him -- the well-respected New South Wales Detective Senior Constable has some time to reflect on a job well done.

The true country boy still smiles when he remembers the fresh-faced 18-year-old who headed for the big city in the late 1970s.

After finishing high school in the Orara Valley, Sen Const Walter thought he might try his hand at paint work but, as his mother blatantly pointed out, he wasn't ... well ... very good at it.

When the police recruitment van rolled into town, she gently suggested he might like to check it out and before he knew it, Sen Const Walter was headed for the academy in Sydney.

The learning curve was steep for a teenager who had never ventured far from home but by the time he returned to Coffs Harbour -- where he has served for 33 of his 37 years in the force -- he had developed a rare set of skills.

A never failing empathy for victims of crime and the ability to carry them through a tedious legal process allowed him into the lives of countless people and eventually led to him receiving the Commissioner's Award for outstanding victim support in 2011.

The knowledge that he was living in a country area where everyone, including the criminals, knew who he was and where he lived, never really troubled him.

As he has told the many fresh recruits he has mentored over the years, "if you are hard but fair" and treat others with respect, you will get by without too much opposition.

With the birth of his children came a new set of challenges.

While he was lucky enough to have the kind of personality that allowed him to switch off when he got home, there were unavoidable emotions stirred when tragedy struck a family which he could compare to his own.

His eldest daughter was five when a local boy of the same age was killed after his head was crushed by a telegraph pole as he leant out of a bus window to wave goodbye to his friends. …

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