A green light to re­tire

Daily Mercury - - NEWS - MADURA MCCOR­MACK Madura.McCor­mack@dai­ly­mer­cury.com.au

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.”

Photo: Madura McCor­mack

CALL­ING IT A DAY: Sergeant Gerry Doyle has re­tired af­ter 41 and a half years of ser­vice with the Queens­land Po­lice Ser­vice.

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