Kelly Makiha is the Rotorua Daily Post's head of news

Editorial: Police family put through hard times

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Police at the scene of Wednesday's siege near Kawerau. Photo / Ben Fraser
Police at the scene of Wednesday's siege near Kawerau. Photo / Ben Fraser

Family is the most important thing.

We all know it. Family make you strong in tough times. Family are there for you when you need them and family don't let you down.

I know of a pretty big family in Rotorua.

It's called the Rotorua police. Twenty years of reporting in this city and it still never ceases to amaze me how tight this family is, despite its many lowlights.

Read more: Siege: Police's Morehu wins praise

There would be few policing areas in New Zealand that have had to go through what Rotorua has. Its name was dragged through the mud when the sexual allegations of former officers Brad Shipton, Bob Schollum and Clint Rickards were made public. The headlines and TV news reports naming "Rotorua cops" went on for months and each time it was a kick in the guts for the local staff.

With professionalism they carried on despite their reputation being tarnished by the actions of just three men.

Local police have also been through the shock of colleagues dying suddenly, including Sergeant Percy Ruri in 2006, police chaplain Canon Gerry Hadlow and his wife Sheila, also in 2006, and Senior Constable Barry Hunt in 2012, and in recent years Rotorua police have supported far too many officers and non-sworn staff with cancer battles.

Now members of the very team who are deployed to keep everyone safe have been shot and hurt.

It must be said the Rotorua police has gone about its work over most of those years while at the same time working in some of the worst offices in the country. Thankfully that's now been fixed with the new police station.

The Rotorua police AOS risked their lives on Wednesday, so too did Inspector Warwick Morehu - someone who will always be an extended member of the Rotorua police family.

Let's not make this an argument about whether or not they should have brought the alleged gunman's family in earlier.

An arrest was made without harm and it was the perfect result for his family.

Rotorua police know that family is the most important thing.

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