Ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer Ian to re­tire

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Ian Browne has the words ‘‘ gone fish­ing’’ scrawled in large black let­ters on his wall plan­ner – from May 11 through the rest of this year.

The se­nior con­sta­ble and ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer is re­tir­ing af­ter 33 years in the force, the last 20 in Porirua. He was a beat cop in Pic­ton be­fore mak­ing the move across the Cook Strait.

‘‘I was look­ing for some­thing dif­fer­ent. Pic­ton was my home­town and I had 13 great years there, but it was time to move on.’’

Tired of be­ing the prover­bial am­bu­lance at the bot­tom of the hill, he was drawn to the role of an ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer and en­gag­ing with kids early.

Work­ing with schools in the dis­trict, Mr Browne talked to teach­ers, par­ents and chil­dren about road safety, car­ried out peer me­di­a­tion and reck­ons he has at­tended more than 100 school camps.

‘‘I loved it. Deal­ing with the kids was al­ways great, be­cause you never knew what they were go­ing to come up with. They’re so open and hon­est and they kept me young.

‘‘It’s very re­ward­ing, a lot of sat­is­fac­tion, but the body’s not so will­ing any­more – I was do­ing a road pa­trol re­cently and this kid said his mum re­mem­bers me from when she was at school, so that sug­gests I’ve been do­ing this long enough.’’

Mr Browne, 55, says he still hears from kids he en­coun­tered 20 years ago and is ‘‘chuffed’’ that he may have made some dif­fer­ence in their lives.

He would have liked to take some home ‘‘to give them a bet­ter life’’.

He says many young peo­ple have a mis­trust of po­lice, due to in­flu­ences from par­ents, other fam­ily mem­bers or friends, but he tried to pro­vide a pos­i­tive in­ter­ac­tion.

Suc­cess was hard to mea­sure – just giv­ing the kids things to think about and hop­ing they make good choices was im­por­tant.

‘‘There are def­i­nitely kids who have an at­ti­tude when you first meet them, you see it straight off.

‘‘But be­cause they’re more open than adults, you have an op­por­tu­nity to make them see we’re not the bad guys. One girl, I re­mem­ber, was hav­ing real trou­ble with her peers, she wanted to fit in with a par­tic­u­lar group. I made an off­hand com­ment that she should not worry about it, per­haps it’s not worth it, and her teacher later told me that that was the dif­fer­ence.’’

Mr Browne says his de­par­ture will al­low some­one with a fresh ap­proach to step in.

He plans to find fur­ther work but with a golf game to im­prove and fish to catch, there is no hurry.

So long: Ian Browne says he will miss the in­ter­ac­tion with kids most when he re­tires from the po­lice force next month. ‘‘I have a lot of fun do­ing this job, there was no bore­dom with such dif­fer­ent kids ev­ery day.’’

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