The long service and dedication of Oamaru police officers was recognised at a ceremony at The Homestead yesterday.
Police gathered at The Homestead with family and friends, as Southern District Commander Superintendent Richard Chambers presented them with their awards.
Detective Warren Duncan stole the show, as he was presented with, not only a medal for 28 years’ long service, but a District Commander’s Commendation for his dedication and attention to detail in a drug operation from 2009 to 2010.
Between July 2009 and November 2010, Mr Duncan initiated and took charge of Operation Nest – an investigation into the use, sale and supply of prescription drugs within the Waitaki area.
A total of 35 offenders and 228 drug offences were identified and subsequent prosecutions had a huge impact on the drug circle in Waitaki.
Oamaru police Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy said Mr Duncan’s dedication and attention to detail were key contributing factors to the outstanding success of Operation Nest.
In addition, he took the initiative to educate relevant stakeholders – organising a drug seminar for doctors, nurses and pharmacists.
“I commend Detective Duncan for his professionalism and dedication,” Mr McCoy said.
Mr Chambers said the dedication to the operation, was something not seen often enough in New Zealand.
“It demonstrates that you didn’t just do the investigative work and the prosecution, holding offenders to account, you went well beyond that.. for a preventative side of things,” he said.
The spotlight was also on Senior Constable Sandra Agnew, who received an Area Commander’s Commendation for all round investigative ability with regard to CPP and ASA files.
Ms Agnew is an uniformed attachment to the Oamaru CIB, where she is one of three investigators.
She’s investigated numerous child abuse and adult sexual assault cases and her attention to detail, relationship building and case management, as well as having a desire to have a positive influence on reducing incidents of these offences in the community, has achieved outstanding results.
Mr Chambers commended her on her dedication to giving young children a voice.
“If you think of the work you are doing around child protection, you are doing it for the people who are a lot smaller than us who don’t actually have a voice,” he said.
On behalf of the little ones, particularly in child protection matters, he expressed his thanks.
John van Leeuwen was also acknowledged for more than 25 years’ service to North Otago Search and Rescue.
Mr McCoy said in times of crises, Mr van Leiden remained a calm team player and leader who handled the most challenging and physical scenarios.
“He’s been involved in searches that have lasted both hours and days where the aim has been to resolve and incident and bring closure to families,” Mr McCoy said.
His work in management, as well as behind the scenes, was “exemplary”.
“I commend you for your professionalism, dedication and commitment to North Otago Search and Rescue, your community and the New Zealand Police,” he said.
Senior Constables Ross Lorry, Carrie Hamilton and Darrin Low received medals for 21 years’ long service.
Senior Constables Gary Mahuika and Stuart Dowling also received medals for 14 years’ long service.
Mr McCoy said it was nice to have an occasion to recognise the long and good service of staff members and for those who had individual commendations for their work and effort into those matters.
By Rebecca Ryan