The good cop to call it a day
FORMER Rochester resident and Victorian Police union boss Ron Iddles is stepping down from his role after three years in the job.
The decorated cop — pegged as one of Australia’s greatest homicide detectives — will retire after 40 years of policing on February 24 next year.
Born in Rochester, then moving to Bamawm in 1963, the former Rochester Primary and Lockington Consolidated School student said in a statement he had put his job ahead of his family for too long.
‘‘It's high time this changed,’’ he said.
‘‘I owe it to my beloved wife, Colleen, my three children and grandchildren to be more generous with my time – something I haven't done so well in the past.
‘‘I have been involved in law enforcement for 40 years, but I also know I am approaching the last quarter of my life, and would like to do lots of things before the final siren sounds.’’
Only a fortnight ago, Mr Iddles was on the stage of Elmore Field Days, telling hundreds of audience members about life working as a homicide detective and the mental health struggles that come with that.
He took the secretary job at the police association in 2014 after being seconded to the union and has campaigned tire- lessly for better mental health support for officers.
This year he made a submission to the government for new laws that would see mental illnesses automatically attributed to an officer's work when making insurance claims, rather than placing the onus on them to prove it.
His father Bill — who still lives in Rochester — said he got a couple of minutes time with his son earlier this month to chat at the field days, and knew the announcement was coming.
‘‘But I haven’t watched the news today,’’ he said on Friday. ‘‘When does he finish up?’’ He said Ron had bought a caravan and planned to take a trip around Australia with his family.
‘‘I’ll have to give him a call to find out the rest,’’ he laughed.
After joining the homicide squad in 1980, Ron Iddles has worked on more than 300 murders — with a 99 per cent conviction rate.
Most recently, that included overseeing the investigation into the Melbourne murder of Jill Meagher in 2012.
He caused controversy a year later, showing a photo from the crime scene at a fundraiser in Bendigo.
Just last week, he made headlines blaming weak judges and a lack of police for Victoria’s spike in crime, telling The Australian “I don’t think I’ve seen it this bad”.
“We have regular carjackings, we have regular home invasions, assaults are up on our members, it’s just a dangerous environment. And then you’ve got to add the threat of terrorism,’’ he said.
‘‘It is just a total lack of respect.’’
In July, a book by Justine Ford was released, detailing Ron’s decorated police career.
Within three days of its release it had sold 10,000 copies as booksellers — including Rochester Newsagency — scrambled to find more copies to meet the staggering demand.
‘‘He used to help with the milking of the cows and always finished up early so he could watch Homicide. That’s how he became interested (in the police force),’’ father Bill said.
Ron will hand over the baton in 2017 — the Police Association’s centenary year.
“It’s been a real privilege and honour to be representing the interests of Victoria’s finest — our 14,500 hardworking police officers and PSOs,’’ Mr Iddles said.
‘‘And I intend to continue to do my very best towards achieving further positive outcomes on their behalf until my last day in the job.”
After 40 years as a cop and the past three as the head of the Victorian police union, Ron Iddles will retire in February.