Top cop excited for new role
New Ashburton sub area commander Phil Dean is excited to bring his varied experience in a new role with new challenges.
Dean is an experienced cop with more than 20 years experience in various policing roles. He’s also an avid thespian, involved with theatre groups like the Kirwee Players and Centre Stage Rolleston.
‘‘The theatre charges me up and actually makes me a better police officer. One is the Yin to the other’s Yang.’’
Starting in his new role on Monday, the former Canterbury road policing manager said his first focus would be getting to grips with the issues facing the Ashburton district.
‘‘I don’t know what I don’t know. I have all the numbers and all the stats, all the cold, hard data. But that doesn’t tell me what the community feels, where the community is being hurt.’’
Dean said he would meet with both traditional policing partners and engage with community to develop a strategy.
‘‘I’ll do a stand-up, town hall style of meeting.
‘‘If I could organise one within the first three months, that would be my goal,’’ he said.
Dean joined police in 1993, spending his first seven years as a frontline cop in Auckland and Wellington.
In 1999, he moved to London and spent time working with a social housing group.
‘‘That was just phenomenally eye opening. Poverty like you wouldn’t believe, absolutely mind blowing. That was part of the reason I looked into community policing.’’
Seeing how much more effective groups could be in assisting communities when working together, Dean pushed for a community policing role on his return to New Zealand in 2004.
By the time of the September 2010 earthquakes, Dean was a senior sergeant working in a strategy role with Christchurch police. He took a role as community services manager for Christchurch East and helped coordinate a multi-agency approach in the area after the earthquakes.
He later moved to the road policing unit until his recent promotion. Dean said his career move was about personal growth, being able to apply his different areas of experience into one task in both an urban and rural setting.
‘‘Sometimes I’ll have to wear a town hat, sometimes I’ll wear a rural hat but I’ll always be wearing my community hat.
‘‘Anything that happens down there, I’m excited that I’ll be able to be involved with all facets of policing.’’
New Ashburton sub-area commander Phil Dean is excited to get to know his new community.