Monto’s new face on beat
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.
BACK ON THE BEAT: Senior Constable Ron Meintjes has a passion for photography.