Dannevirke: Police reflect on 'wild west' change

By Christine McKay

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Senior Constable Lynda Kendrick (left) retired from the police last week after 14 years' service. Pictured with her are Sergeant Paul Adrian, Senior Sergeant Nathan Davis and Senior Constable Murray Anderson, who has transferred to the Hawke's Bay District after 21 years in Dannevirke. Photo / Christine McKay
Senior Constable Lynda Kendrick (left) retired from the police last week after 14 years' service. Pictured with her are Sergeant Paul Adrian, Senior Sergeant Nathan Davis and Senior Constable Murray Anderson, who has transferred to the Hawke's Bay District after 21 years in Dannevirke. Photo / Christine McKay

Despite 35 combined years of service leaving the Dannevirke Police last Friday, there will be no let-up in police vigilance in the district, Senior Sergeant Nathan Davis says.

"Residents are safer now than they were last year," he said at a farewell for two senior officers.

After 14 years' service, Senior Constable Lynda Kendrick has resigned to study to become a radiographer and Senior Constable Murray Anderson has transferred to the Hawke's Bay District, after 21 years in the force at Dannevirke.

"Murray's 21 years here in Dannevirke are an outstanding contribution and we couldn't ask for more," Mr Davis said.

"And Lynda's 14 years has been a magnificent contribution too."

But Mr Davis said their departure won't see Dannevirke fall-off in policing.

"We've had a week in Tararua with only five crimes: that's remarkable and I believe we just need to get busy and continue doing good stuff.

"Yes, we've lost some staff but what my guys are doing now is making a difference and there will be no let-up as we deploy where we're best suited."

Inspector Dave White of Palmerston North said that when Mr Anderson joined the police force in Dannevirke, it "was pretty wild west".

"There were gangs and murders and it wasn't a particularly nice place to be and we were having trouble attracting staff to Dannevirke. There had been a mass exodus from the force nationally when the Government changed the rules around early retirement but in a short space of time five new staff began work here and Murray was one of them."

Mr Anderson said he had seen Dannevirke through 21 years of change.

"It's now more vibrant and the crime is less. We don't come to work on a Monday morning now and see up to five shop windows broken."

After starting work on Easter Monday, April 17, 1995, Mr Anderson joined a local rugby club - a good way to become part of the community, he said.

"After six months I wanted to leave but 21 years later I'm still here."

Working with 20 senior sergeants in that time, Mr Anderson said when he walked up the street in Dannevirke, everyone knew him.

"I've got fond memories of Dannevirke," he said.

Acknowledging 21 years of service in a small town can be "bloody hard", moving to a front-line policing role in Hawke's Bay District would be a challenge for Mr Anderson, Mr White said.

"You will relish the challenge and I'm sure you'll rise to it," he said.

Mrs Kendrick joined the police after nine years at the Oringi Freezing Works, where she was a meat inspector. Her first posting in the police was to Feilding.

With a strong academic background, she has a Bachelor of Science and Education, along with a teaching diploma and was, for a time, a teacher at St Joseph's School.

Working in youth services for the police, children and teachers thought she was "the bees knees", Mr White said.

In 2002 Mrs Kendrick was permanently appointed to the role of youth officer.

"She has a great personality, a wicked sense of humour and has been extremely dedicated," police youth services co-ordinator Sergeant Craig Smith of Palmerston North said.

Mrs Kendrick is about to begin three years' study in medical imaging at UCOL in Palmerston North.

"She will be a big loss to the Tararua community and its children," Mr Smith said.

Mrs Kendrick said the main reason she had joined the police was for the youth services role "but sometimes my role could be quite lonely".

"Working in schools you see things from a different perspective and you're always learning."

The police were recruiting for staff for Dannevirke and Pahiatua, ideal positions in a district which had so much to offer, Mr Davis said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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