Monto’s new face on beat

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

A MONTH-LONG stint as Monto’s po­lice­man in 1998 had Ron Mien­t­jes ea­ger to re­turn to the North Bur­nett coun­try­side.

Ear­lier this April he fi­nally got his chance and ar­rived for what will be a much longer ten­ure as the town’s Se­nior Con­sta­ble, af­ter work­ing in Bund­aberg for the past 17 years.

De­spite this long stint out east, Mien­t­jes has been in­volved in many var­ied forms of po­lice ac­tiv­ity, ever since join­ing the force in 1983.

Twelve months spent sam­pling DNA from Queens­land pris­on­ers was one of the more fas­ci­nat­ing tasks he was as­signed along the way.

“We went to ev­ery prison twice and took mouth swabs from the crim­i­nals,” he said.

“It was very re­ward­ing when we could re­open cold cases from years ago and tell the people that were af­fected that some­one was fi­nally be­ing held ac­count­able.”

That ex­pe­ri­ence may have been what led to what Mien­t­jes de­scribed as his favourite job: work­ing in the Bund­aberg scenes of crime unit, where he spent the past six years.

“We were di­rectly in­volved in help­ing people find res­o­lu­tion to some­thing trau­matic,” Snr Const Mien­t­jes said.

He con­ceded that there was an “emo­tional bur­den” in car­ry­ing out this con­fronting po­lice work.

“Train­ing and sup­port help us (po­lice of­fi­cers) cope per­haps more eas­ily than the aver­age per­son,” he said.

It could have also been the close-knit Mien­t­jes fam­ily that helped the Con­sta­ble over­come the more dif­fi­cult strains of po­lice work.

Snr Const Mien­t­jes and his wife Jeanette have been to­gether since they both be­gan study­ing their hor­ti­cul­ture de­grees at Gatton Agri­cul­tural Col­lege in the ’80s.

“Even though it did not turn into a ca­reer, I met my wife, so the time was well spent,” he said.

To­gether they went from tend­ing gar­den beds in Gatton to rais­ing chil­dren in Bund­aberg.

“I wanted to give my kids sta­bil­ity grow­ing up, but they are 26 and 27 now so can look af­ter them­selves okay,” he ex­plained.

“One of the rea­sons why this job in Monto was ap­peal­ing was be­cause I would only be two hours away from them.”

He also looked for­ward to re­con­nect­ing with the com­mu­nity and with fel­low mo­tor­bike and pho­tog­ra­phy en­thu­si­asts.

“I’m a spon­ta­neous pho­tog­ra­pher,” Snr Const Mien­t­jes said.

Trips to Par­adise Dam on his Honda Gold­wing pro­vide plenty of in­spi­ra­tion for Snr Const Mien­t­jes to en­ter­tain each of his hob­bies.

PHOTO: EMILY SMITH

BACK ON THE BEAT: Se­nior Con­sta­ble Ron Mein­t­jes has a pas­sion for pho­tog­ra­phy.

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