Hill says goodbye but he will be back
There’s been plenty of highs and lows after 14 years as a police officer in Tokoroa, but Graeme Hill has finally moved onto a new role.
The former senior sergeant has moved on from Tokoroa to become the Bay of Plenty victims’ manager.
He’s been a prominent part of the community for more than a decade but searching through the South Waikato News archives, it seems he has managed to avoid the camera in that time.
Despite that, in the five years he served as senior sergeant, Hill’s always had his door open to the community.
That was because he wanted to change perceptions of the town’s police force.
‘‘From the outset, when I took on this role, I made it an open door policy.’’
The thoughts of the community really mattered to him.
When people took to social media to bad-mouth police efforts, it wasn’t easy to see.
‘‘It irks me a lot to see things on social media because I take it personally.’’
It just showed Hill wasn’t one to hide his feelings and thoughts away, especially in the hard times.
One he will always remember was the Lois Dear homicide in 2006.
He described it as one of the ‘‘saddest’’ days during his time in the Tokoroa police.
‘‘For me, that appeared to be a senseless crime, that seemed to strike chords with the community.’’
The work that went into that case was ‘‘ massive’’, he said, and it created an undeserved stigma for the town.
Through it all, Hill believed the relationship with most residents stands strong to this day.
Tokoroa is one the luckiest communities to have police interact with them as much as they do, he said.
‘‘The guys are willing to get out more and do their bit.’’
Including the newly developed programme CACTUS which begun at Forest View High School two years ago.
‘‘That’s been awesome, it put our relationship with youth and police at the forefront.’’
One of the pinnacle moments for Hill was the day Tokoroa put its foot down on tagging.
It’s a goodbye to Hill as the town’s senior sergeant but fortunately with his new role, he’ll be back.
After 14 years with the Tokoroa Police, Graeme Hill is moving on to new challenges.