Wairarapa police praised after balloon tragedy

By Amie Hickland of the Wairarapa Times-Age -
Wairarapa police pay parade on Friday at St Matthews Church hall. Photo / APN
Wairarapa police pay parade on Friday at St Matthews Church hall. Photo / APN

Wairarapa police were praised for their efforts during the Carterton balloon tragedy earlier this year at the annual Wairarapa Police Pay Parade held at the station last week.

The parade is held to recognise the efforts of staff throughout the year and Canterbury Earthquake Citations were handed out to many members, along with other awards.

Kaumatua Mike Kawana and police chaplin David Cole opened the ceremony with a blessing.

Police Commissioner Peter Marshall was to attend the ceremony but was in Auckland dealing with the aftermath of the tornado that claimed lives when it hit last week.

District Commander Superintendent Mike Rusbatch said a reduction in crime in the region could be attributed to preventative policing.

He praised staff for their "timely and empathetic" response to the balloon tragedy, which was "heartening and very humbling".

"We use this occasion to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of staff," he said.

Wairarapa Area Commander Inspector Brent Register said police had reduced crime in the region by about 19 per cent over the last year.

"We've been very, very successful in working with our community in making Wairarapa a safer place to work, live and visit," he said.

"Today is about us celebrating the success we've had throughout the year - and we've had many."

South Wairarapa mayor Adrienne Staples thanked everybody for the hard work they had done.

"I know that it's not always easy to be the people that have to be in charge of making sure everybody follows the rules," she said.

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