36 years on road comes to end

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By BEN STRANG

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.

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