36 years on road comes to end
Traffic cop Sergeant Ron Walker retired last week, after 36 years as a police officer.
Mr Walker, 65, who started as a traffic officer under the Ministry of Transport in 1975, said the time was right to leave the police.
He moved to New Zealand with his family from Scotland in 1963. Living in Christchurch, he found a job as a fitter and joiner.
After 12 years of working in a factory, he decided to join a friend as a traffic cop for the Ministry of Transport.
Joining up in 1975, he spent four years in Christchurch riding an 800cc bike, but was looking to get away from the cold weather.
‘‘ You’re sitting there with all the gear on and everything, including a nappy around my neck to stop the water going down under my jacket.
‘‘There used to be a fight in our house as to who had the nappies, the kids or me.’’
With the promise of a car with a heater in Reefton, Mr Walker moved to the West Coast for three years. He was the sole traffic cop between Lewis Pass and Murchison.
By 1982 he had moved to Paekakariki, where he was the sole charge between Pukerua
Bay and Tokomaru.
In 1986 he was promoted to sergeant and moved to Porirua, where he was based until 1993, a year after the Ministry of Transport traffic officers became full police officers.
‘‘[ In 1993] the district commander in Porirua sent me up here, because of all the fatals on the roads at that stage,’’ he said.
‘‘We got a good team together and started making some impact on it. It’s just being seen, and taking action when necessary.’’
Mr Walker spent two years as part of the INCIS project, but left and returned to Kapiti just before the programme folded.
He said he enjoys being out and about meeting people, but did not like the paperwork that came with the job.
‘‘I especially love the crashes and that, creating order out of chaos. Then trying to find out why the accident happened to see if we can do something, or recommend something to stop it.’’
Being a grandfather of one, with another on the way, Mr Walker said he won’t be leaving Kapiti, but has a few plans for the future.
‘‘I think I’ll paint the house, and my wife will want me to do some gardening. I bloody hate gardening,’’ he said.
‘‘But I think my ideal retirement would be to just go and do some fishing. That would be great.’’
Kapiti Senior Sergeant Alasdair Macmillan said Mr Walker will be a huge loss to the police.
‘‘I’d describe Ron as being like rust, he never sleeps. He’s 24-7, completely dedicated,’’ he said,
‘‘There has never been a time when he has been off duty, gets a call to come in for a crash or something, and turned it down. ‘‘He is always available to help.’’ Mr Walker’s last day was on September 12.
Alasdai’r Senior Sergeant
Macmillan Finishing up: Longtime traffic cop Ron Walker has retired after 36 years’ service.