Veteran cop sails off into sunset
NORTH FREMANTLE WATER Police Senior Sergeant Greg Trew (63) wants State Government departments to bring together their sea rescue abilities after he retires from 33 years with WA Police this week.
“The future challenge is to align government resources and services, including those in the departments of Transport, Fisheries, and Parks and Wildlife, so they co-ordinate, and then together reduce costs and improve services,” Sen Sgt Trew said.
Sen Sgt Trew was responsible for getting Department of Transport (DoT) staff to man communications at Water Police’s headquarters, saving police wages and putting DoT in contact with its patrol boats.
Technology, emergency beacons (EPIRBs), mobile hones and skipper training were among the other changes to the job in his 10 years at Water Police.
“Boats now carry EPIRBS and it’s mandatory all around the coast, so when one is set off we now know there’s a problem, we know where they are, and with the advent of skippers’ tickets, most people are more aware of the dangers of being at sea,” Sen Sgt Trew said.
“But people are still leaving the bilge bungs out of their boats before they launch.”
After joining as a 29-year-old in 1979, he had long periods in the forensic, surveillance and security management sections of WA Police.
“I applied for Water Police when I saw a position and I was always involved with the water and had a basic boat coxswain’s ticket.” he said.
In WA at any time, Water Po- lice conduct rescues and searches, investigate thefts, provide vessels for other police, and enforce recreational and commercial boating law. Tragedy is part of the job. “A couple of years ago, a cou- ple travelling around Australia drowned at Coral Bay, leaving their two orphaned kids on the beach, and dealing with that, when there are kids standing on a beach while the rest of the family is spread around Australia, is a tough gig,” Sen Sgt Trew said. But there is also humour. “We once had a report of someone breaking in to a boat, and promptly boarded it, only to find an amorous couple otherwise engaged, who hadn’t told the owner they were going to use his boat in Mosman Bay,” Sen Sgt Trew said.
Married with four adult children, his immediate plans are to “go to Indo for a surf with some geriatric mates”, and a kite surfing safari to Sumbawa.
Retiring Senior Sergeant Greg Trew with a framed present of new patrol boats.