Id­dles to talk about book ‘The Good Cop’

Euroa Gazette - - LET­TERS TO THE EDITOR - By MARG BROADHURST

THE friends of the Euroa Li­brary have once again re­sponded to a re­quest from read­ers in se­lect­ing their first guest speaker for the year.

The book ‘The Good Cop’ is the bi­og­ra­phy of this coun­try’s best known and most suc­cess­ful homi­cide de­tec­tive, Ron Id­dles, who has spent more than 25 years in the Vic­to­rian Homi­cide Squad.

Dur­ing those years he was in­volved in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of 320 homi­cides with a suc­cess rate of 95 per cent solved and a con­vic­tion rate of 99 per cent.

He is cur­rently head of the Vic­to­rian Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion and re­tires from that po­si­tion and the Po­lice Force in Fe­bru­ary.

Ron Id­dles was raised on a dairy farm in Rochester in coun­try Vic­to­ria.

Like most coun­try boys he grew up play­ing foot­ball, and due to his im­pos­ing height, played as a ruck­man and for­ward for the Echuca Foot­ball Club first XVIII while still a teenager.

It was not unusual for Ron to play for both the firsts and sec­onds on the same day.

He was no stranger to hard work, and would milk 120 cows be­fore break­fast then cy­cle eight kilo­me­tres to the school bus stop. Week­ends would be spent cart­ing hay.

It was that early work ethic that would stand him in great stead in what­ever ca­reer he chose- and all he ever wanted to be was a po­lice­man.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing (as Dux) from the Po­lice Academy Ron spent five years in uni­form be­fore trans­fer­ring to the Fitzroy CIB.

Six months later he was work­ing full time at the Homi­cide Squad, where he im­pressed his su­pe­ri­ors and col­leagues as a to­tally fear­less and tire­less worker.

His rise through the ranks was rapid, but deal­ing with mur­der daily takes its toll on even the most skilled in­ves­ti­ga­tors and Ron quit the force in 1989 at the age of thirty-four.

His sec­ond love had been ma­chin­ery, and he be­gan his own suc­cess­ful truck­ing busi­ness. Five years later, how­ever, the Chief In­spec­tor of Po­lice per­suaded him to re­turn to the force.

Ron sold his trucks and reen­tered the force as a constable.

Within three years he has worked his way up to his former rank; De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant, and lead­ing his own team.

Ron im­me­di­ately set about clearing up scores of ma­jor in­ves­ti­ga­tions through dogged de­ter­mi­na­tion and a be­lief that he owed it to the vic­tims and their fam­i­lies.

When work­ing on a case he would work 30 to 50 hours straight to achieve a quick and suc­cess­ful re­sult. His team would loy­ally fol­low him.

At the Homi­cide Squad he earned the nick­name ‘The Great Man’, not only be­cause of his rep­u­ta­tion for solv­ing cases, but the unique way he went about it and the im­pact he had on the fam­i­lies of vic­tims, the le­gal sys­tem, and the crim­i­nals them­selves.

A spokesper­son from the Crime Vic­tims Sup­port As­so­ci­a­tion de- scribes Ron Id­dles as “a fear­less, phys­i­cally strong, men­tally tough po­lice­man, and a hu­mane and com­pas­sion­ate man.”

To the crim­i­nals he had the rep­u­ta­tion of play­ing it straight with them, and also earned the nick­name ‘Hon­est Ron.’

His relaxed, con­ver­sa­tion-style in­ter­view­ing tech­nique re­sulted in many crim­i­nals sim­ply open­ing up and con­fess­ing to him. Even when in­ter­view­ing some of the coun­try’s most dan­ger­ous crim­i­nals, Ron never al­tered his tech­nique.

Many of this state’s most shock­ing homi­cide cases landed on Ron Id­dles’ desk bring­ing with them con­sid­er­able me­dia at­ten­tion. As he suc­cess­fully solved these cases the me­dia be­gan to fo­cus on him and he be­came a high pro­file fig­ure on tele­vi­sion news bul­letins and doc­u­men­taries.

Ron also be­came a pop­u­lar fig­ure with view­ers who were drawn to his em­pa­thy and hon­esty.

While never com­fort­able with that level of at­ten­tion, Ron recog­nised the role the me­dia could play in as­sist­ing the po­lice and made him­self avail­able when re­quested. De­spite his thoughts be­ing to­tally fo­cused on catch­ing a killer, Ron treated re­porters and jour­nal­ists with pa­tience and cour­tesy.

Ron left his beloved Homi­cide Squad in 2014 to be­come sec­re­tary of the Vic­to­rian Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion.

How­ever, be­fore he took up that po­si­tion he had one last case he had promised to solve.

In 2012, as head of the new­ly­formed Homi­cide Cold Case Di­vi­sion, Ron was asked to re-open the file on an old un­solved homi­cide.

Shep­par­ton teenager Michelle Buck­ing­ham was mur­dered in 1983, and in 2013 Ron promised her mother to re-open the case and solve it.

At that time the Homi­cide Squad was stretched to the limit due to the gang­land killings.

With no re­sources at his dis­posal Ron worked the case alone and in his free time.

A year later, 31 years af­ter her mur­der, Ron Id­dles flew to Bris­bane and ar­rested Michelle Buck­ing­ham’s killer.

The Great Man had kept his prom­ise and solved his fi­nal case.

Ron Id­dles has earned nu­mer­ous awards dur­ing his ca­reer, in­clud­ing the Po­lice Com­mis­sioner’s Ci­ta­tion for Brav­ery.

The ci­ta­tion was awarded to Ron af­ter he had been in a phys­i­cal fight for his life while ar­rest­ing a dan­ger­ous es­capee.

In 2015 he was awarded an Or­der of Australia Medal for his char­ity work and sup­port for the fam­i­lies of vic­tims of crime.

He has raised over $1.5 mil­lion for char­ity through speak­ing en­gage­ments yet has never charged a fee for his ap­pear­ances.

The Friends of the Euroa Li­brary are proud the Ron Id­dles ac­cepted an in­vi­ta­tion to speak at a lit­er­ary din­ner in Euroa a week prior to his re­tire­ment.

Tick­ets for the din­ner have sold out and The Al­ready Read Book­shop is tak­ing names on a wait­ing list in the event of any can­cel­la­tions from ticket hold­ers.

Ron will be speak­ing at the Third Age Club Hall, Euroa at 6.30pm on Fe­bru­ary 15.

AU­THOR: Homi­cide Squad de­tec­tive Ron Id­dles will be a guest speaker at the Euroa Third Age Hall on Fe­bru­ary 15.

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