Serv­ing the com­mu­nity an hon­our for top cop

In­spec­tor Wil­lie Tay­lor has been in­volved in plan­ning the po­lice re­sponse to some of our big­gest tragedies. He tells Karina Aba­dia why re­ceiv­ing of­fi­cial recog­ni­tion for his work means so much to him.

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Serv­ing the po­lice and the com­mu­nity seems to come nat­u­rally to In­spec­tor Wil­lie Tay­lor who at­tended an in­vesti­ture cer­e­mony to be made a mem­ber of the New Zealand Or­der of Merit yes­ter­day.

The 55-year-old joined the po­lice force soon af­ter his 19th birth­day and has never wanted to do any­thing else.

Af­ter train­ing in Welling­ton he was posted to Auck­land Cen­tral Po­lice and still re­mem­bers his first day walk­ing the beat on K Rd.

‘‘It was very daunt­ing but it was great. That was how I got to learn about Auck­land – walk­ing around and talk­ing to its char­ac­ters.’’

In 1993 he was pro­moted to sergeant and sent to Man­gere po­lice sta­tion.

‘‘With­out a doubt South Auck­land is the pre­mier place to po­lice. It had its black days but also on the pos­i­tive side it re­ally felt like we were mak­ing a ence,’’ he says.

He later be­came se­nior sergeant at Auck­land City Dis­trict and of­fi­cer in charge of the down­town po­lice sta­tion which looked af­ter the CBD as well as Wai­heke and Great Bar­rier is­lands.

In 1997 he was pro­moted

dif­fer- to in­spec­tor at the North­ern Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Cen­tre in Grey Lynn but he re­turned to Auck­land City Dis­trict in 2009.

His op­er­a­tional plan­ning skills have cer­tainly been put to the test in re­cent years. Af­ter the first earth­quake in Septem­ber 2011 Mr Tay­lor went to Christchurch where he was in charge of a con­tin­gent of 80 Auck­land po­lice of­fi­cers who pa­trolled the CBD at night.

No-one could have pre­pared for the mag­ni­tude of the event, he says.

An army gym­na­sium pro­vided makeshift ac­commo- da­tion but it was less than ideal.

‘‘Af­ter a big af­ter­shock you could see the roof beams twist­ing and you won­dered how strong they were. I’d felt earth­quakes be­fore but not like that.’’

He went down to Christchurch again af­ter the Fe­bru­ary earth­quake and was given a strate­gic role.

‘‘The polic­ing staff down there were work­ing in­cred­i­ble hours with­out re­al­is­ing that they were also vic­tims.

‘‘It be­came ob­vi­ous that a re­cov­ery plan was re­quired that would get Can­ter­bury Dis­trict Po­lice back to busi­ness as usual.’’

In be­tween the two ma­jor earth­quakes he worked on the Pike River mine dis­as­ter but not all his du­ties have in­volved tragedy.

Mr Tay­lor is a rugby fan so be­ing in charge of the strate­gic over­view of polic­ing the Rugby World Cup was a ‘‘fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence’’.

These days he works as a shift com­man­der look­ing af­ter the front­line staffing re­sources and ad­vis­ing se­nior sergeants in Coun­ties Manukau, Auck­land City Dis­trict and Waitem­ata.

He loves the day-to-day chal­lenges of be­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer and mak­ing the New Year’s hon­ours list is the ic­ing on the cake.

‘‘It is great recog­ni­tion, not only for me and the peo­ple who work for me, but also my fam­ily who have been through a lot. There’s a sac­ri­fice to be made and it just never ends.’’

As well as his com­mit­ment to the po­lice, he is also re­ceiv­ing the award for his ser­vices to the com­mu­nity.

He has long been in­volved in rugby coach­ing and for the past three years has coached cham­pi­onship age-grade teams at Sa­cred Heart Col­lege.

Photo: KARINA ABA­DIA

Un­ex­pected hon­our: In­spec­tor Wil­lie Tay­lor is thrilled to be a mem­ber of the New Zealand Or­der of Merit.

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