IT was an emotional farewell for Sergeant Steve Mawson on Wednesday who retired after 43 years of dedicated service to the NSW Police.
A guard of honour complete with a piper lined the entrance way to the Narooma police station, where Sgt Mawson has been the officer in charge since 2003.
A large contingent of high ranking officers from around the Far South Coast command as well as his colleagues from Narooma gathered for his farewell.
“43 years of family is what I’ve had,” Sgt Mawson began his farewell speech.
“You are all valuable people and it’s a cliché but you are the thin blue line.
“It’s a tough job where you have to deal with a lot of things and I thank you on behalf of everyone for dealing with those things.
“Thank-you all and I will never forget all of you.”
He acknowledged that 43 years was a long time and that he had learned and seen a lot of things - some of it good, some of it not so good.
Sgt Mawson’s career included a stint in the NSW Police Gazette section and NSW Police radio room, after he which he came to the Far South Coast Local Area Command 16 years ago.
Detective Superintendent Peter O’Brien APM said 43 years was a remarkable achievement and in his recent travels he found at the police in the USA retire after 20 years and in Europe after 25 or 30 years.
“Since you joined as a cadet in 1970, things have changed exponentially,” he said.
Telexes and the old police blue serge uniform got a mention as things of the past.
“Your experience and knowledge will be missed…but we have a good team here.”
Superintendent O’Brien spoke about the sacrifices all police officers made and the pressure the career placed on their families with shift work and call outs.
Assistant Commissioner Gary Worboys presented Sgt. Mawson with a Region Commander Award, which he said was thoroughly deserved and he did not want to miss his farewell ceremony.
“I wouldn’t be anywhere else and 43 years is a tremendous achievement,” Commissioner Worboys said, noting the large crowd was a good indication of the retiring officer’s outstanding character.
Sgt Mawson said it was a difficult decision to retire but the time was right.
“I have plenty of friends in the cops and will always have fond memories and will even have a laugh at the tough times as I get older and senile,” he said.
He plans to spend more time with his family and fishing in the local area.
A new senior officer in charge will be appointed at the Narooma police station in the near future.