Beloved policeman farewells station

By Liz Wylie

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Waverley's favourite copper - Senior Constable Brian Rook - spent his final day at the station last Friday after 16 years of service in the town.

Greeting visitors in his "civvies", the retiring officer said he had already handed in his uniform and was spending a fairly quiet day in the office.

Although he is still a couple of years away from Gold Card eligibility, Mr Rook (affectionately known as "Rookie") will collect his police pension and says he is looking forward to retirement.

Small-town policing has had its share of big moments over the years and there have been some challenging times in Waverley.

"There have been some dramatic weather events, of course - the storm and floods in 2004, the big winds in 2010 and last year's floods."

He can laugh about some of the crimes he has had to deal with and recalls when some criminals planning a ram-raid robbery slashed the police car tyres as well as the tyres on his private vehicle for good measure.

"Road fatalities have been a hard part of the job - when it is someone you have known, it does haunt you," he said.

"You develop a very black sense of humour, and that is what helps you to cope."

Mr Rook also credits wife Cheryl for helping to keep him sane in the job.

"I know there were times when she wasn't sure if I would be coming home, or whether she was going to see two police officers walking up the drive to give the dreaded message that all police officers' spouses live in fear of," he said.

"She is also the one that I have had to take my frustrations out on when I got home from incidents that have really pissed me off - and there have been a few."

Fellow police officers who have worked in Waverley were mentioned and he gave a special salute to Bryan Ragg, or "Raggy" as he is known.

"He was the epitome of the 'old copper' - fair but firm.

"Well done, Bryan, you are a legend."

Mr Rook worked as a meat inspector in his hometown of Patea before he joined the police force at age 37.

He will still be active in the Waverley and Patea communities as a community board member, Lions club member and with the voluntary Community Patrol group, which he says has been a huge success.

"Along with the security cameras around town, the Community Patrol have been very successful in helping us keep the lid on disorder and crime in Waverley."

Mr Rook plans to retire to the beach house at Waiinu that he and Cheryl have been renovating, spend more time with their children and grandchildren, do some fishing, play golf and maybe get a part-time job.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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