Working with at risk youth is a tough job and one that Senior Constable Bruce Warrender handles with ‘‘ integrity and compassion’’.
His dedication to the job resulted in the youth aid officer being named the 2012 Matamata Piako Police Person of the Year.
Mayor Hugh Vercoe presented Mr Warrender with the award at the Waikato Police Pay Parade on Friday.
‘‘I’m still not sure why I got the award,’’ said Mr Warrender.
‘‘ We just do what we are employed to do and it’s business as usual.’’
The award is sponsored by the Rotary clubs in Matamata and Morrinsville and recognises policing excellence and outstanding service.
Rotary president Graeme Guilford said it was not about acts of bravery or heroism but the vital work that police officers did every single day.
Mr Warrender was sworn in as a police officer 14 years ago and began his career on the North Shore.
In January 2006 he was transferred to Matamata and two years later took up the position of youth aid officer.
Mr Warrender has taken a leading role in programmes such as Lifebuoy ( suicide prevention), RockOn (targeting truancy), and The Journey (supporting at risk youth).
‘‘It’s an opportunity to be an ambulance at the top of the cliff rather than the bottom. That’s what I enjoy about the job.’’
Mr Warrender has a strong involvement with Matamata College and gives advice, direction and guidance in matters requiring a figure of authority.
He also coaches the
college’s under 55kg Matamata College rugby team and has taken up a position on the Board of Trustees.
His nomination for the award came from a member of the public, who acknowledged the way he deals with difficult and trying circumstances. The citation said: ‘‘ This work is difficult and requires a high level of skill and ongoing commitment to young people and their families.
‘‘He handles it with integrity, compassion and a willingness to look for options to better serve the community.’’
Mr Guilford said there was a lot of work done by police that members of the public did not often get to see.
‘‘It’s nice to be able to recognise the people who do the work that makes the community a lot better place for all of us.
‘‘Bruce is one of those guys.’’