A green light to retire
SERGEANT Gerry Doyle’s decorated career with the Queensland Police Service may have gone by in a flash, but it has always been within the speed limit.
Sgt Doyle will officially park his motorcycle and hang up his cap on June 27, after 41.5 years of service, nearly all of that within the Mackay Police District.
He began his policing career at the age of 15 as a cadet, on January 17, 1977, in the times of manual typewriters, carbon paper and no air-conditioning in police stations or cars.
“Mackay back then was a large country town, going to the Northern Beaches was like going for a country drive,” he said.
“I’ve seen a lot of changes, road improvements... but over all that time you still get the same driving behaviour, some of the silly, stupid, dangerous driving behaviour back then you still see today.
“In all fairness, it’s only ever a minority group that are driving badly, a majority of people endeavour to do the right thing.”
Sgt Doyle once pulled over a young man driving a sedan with no front seat.
“He was sitting on a pillow on the floor with no front seat, but it wasn’t until I pulled him over to speak to him about an unrelated traffic matter that I realised,” he said.
“In my mind I thought it was amusing, but I didn’t tell him that because it wasn’t obviously, it is a massive safety issue should something happen.
“That was just one of the silly things you see, and there have been plenty of them.”
He spent seven months policing in Brisbane before he was sent to Mackay, where he cut his teeth as a general duties officer. After eight years, Sgt Doyle became a detective in the ‘Juvenile Aid Bureau’ now known as the Child Protection Investigation Unit. Five years later he moved to the Road Policing Unit, and has stayed there for the past 25 years.
Sgt Doyle has spent most of his career educating motorists and responding to traffic crashes.
“They’re distressing for anybody, but yes police officers and emergency personnel, that’s what we get paid to do,” he said.
“There was one that sticks in my mind, it was on the highway south of Mackay... the scene was like a war zone but it was incredibly quiet, everyone was doing their business but everyone was in shock at what they were looking at.
“There were more than a couple of people killed in that incident.
“We’ve all seen lots of tragedy in our careers, but apart from that there has been a lot of good times as well.”
Sgt Doyle still runs into some of the youths he worked to steer straight.
“It wasn’t just about arresting someone and clearing the crime rate, it was trying to help those kids move on with their lives and providing them support,” he said.
“I still meet some of them on the street wanting to have a chat.”
Sgt Doyle was transferred to Mackay in 1981, and his girlfriend, now wife, Betty, moved up 12 months later. They settled in Mackay and bought the family home on the outskirts of the CBD in 1983, where they live to this day.
Together they have two daughters, Melanie and Sylvia, both schoolteachers like their mum, and a son, Alexander, who is an infantry soldier in the Australian Army.
“I never felt the need to transfer away from Mackay because it’s always been a great place to live, work and bring up a family,” he said.
“Mackay living has been great for me.”
Sgt Doyle said he will now move into a new phase of his life, temporarily as a househusband, and is keen to dip his hands into community work unrelated to policing.
“It is a bit surreal, thinking this is the end of my policing career, but it will be fun.”
CALLING IT A DAY: Sergeant Gerry Doyle has retired after 41 and a half years of service with the Queensland Police Service.