Pro­mo­tion for com­mu­nity cop


Sergeant Gary McKer­non of the Dan­nevirke Po­lice loves com­mu­nity policing be­cause it’s about peo­ple.

McKer­non came to Dan­nevirke five and a half years ago with his wife and in his re­cent pro­mo­tion to sergeant he has stepped into a new role, re­spon­si­ble for help­ing pre­vent fam­ily harm, and youth ser­vices.

And while this new role means a step back from the streets, for McKer­non peo­ple are at the heart of what he aims to do.

McKer­non joined the Dan­nevirke Po­lice in April 2013, trans­fer­ring from South Auck­land and now with a fiveyear-old daugh­ter, he said his fam­ily “aren’t go­ing any­where”.

“I am here for the long term,” he said. “We came down to be part of the com­mu­nity and com­mu­nity groups and iwi sup­ported me in my ap­pli­ca­tion for the po­si­tion here. We like it here. We have a life­style block and my daugh­ter goes to a good coun­try school, so why not live here. Dan­nevirke has worked out very well for us. This is a good com­mu­nity and Dan­nevirke has a lot go­ing for it.”

But McKer­non ad­mit­ted there isn’t any map to fol­low for his new role, with is­sues like any town.

“Fam­ily harm is­sues are com­plex and get­ting to grips with this is a new chal­lenge,” he said. “Vic­tims are nearly al­ways the chil­dren and when you lis­ten to some of the sto­ries . . .”

After 23 years in the po­lice McKer­non has seen some of the hor­rific sides of life, in­clud­ing women who take a beat­ing to ap­pease their hus­bands and pro­tect their chil­dren.

“When I first came to Dan­nevirke youth crime was huge, but the in­stal­la­tion of CCTV se­cu­rity cam­eras have made a big change,” he said. “Now I’d like to see us deal with the tag­ging.” And he said the per­ceived gang prob­lem in Dan­nevirke is com­plex too.

“These gang mem­bers have lived here longer than me, they haven’t moved here,” he said. “Wear­ing a gang patch isn’t a crime, but when they com­mit an of­fence they are caught and charged.”

“We’ve had feed­back re­gard­ing our vis­i­bil­ity in town and it’s my in­tent to have more foot pa­trols, with po­lice more ac­ces­si­ble,” he said.

McKer­non’s po­si­tion is the sec­ond sergeant role for Tararua Po­lice, with Paul Adrian also based in Dan­nevirke.

Two staff left the po­lice this month and an­other has re­turned to Palmer­ston North for ca­reer rea­sons.

“This did im­pact our staffing lev­els but we have man­aged to re­cruit to fill those po­si­tions, so there’s no loss,” Glassey said.

Over the last six months Dan­nevirke has had a good re­duc­tion in prop­erty crime and a lot of that is down to the fo­cus of po­lice, but drug and al­co­hol prob­lems re­main.

Se­nior sergeant Jymahl Glassey, left, of the Tararua Po­lice, with sergeant Gary McKer­non.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.