One of Young police's top cops sergeant Paul Colefax has retired after 34 years in the NSW Police Force.
Sergeant Colefax was sent out by colleagues and members of the community with a guard of honour at Young Police Station on Thursday afternoon, before a last call was broadcast across NSW police radio.
"I am overwhelmed today and have been all day. Thirty-four years, it doesn't seem that long," he said.
"Thank you [officers] for your loyalty, support, friendship and respect. It has been an honour and privilege to serve here. I love this town and I love this group of people. It's been a great honour."
Sergeant Colefax graduated from the Police Training Centre at Redfern in December, 1986. He was stationed at Campbelltown and Macquarie Fields before transferring to Liverpool highway patrol in 1989.
He spent the following 19 years in highway patrol, during which he was promoted to sergeant in 2002. In 2010, sergeant Colefax and his wife made the move to Young.
"We were talking about retirement actually. The plan was to start thinking about what we wanted to do so we could begin planning for retirement. And we thought it'd be nice to move to a rural area somewhere with a few acres so we can kick back and relax.
"We took a weekend and had a look at Yass, Cootamundra, and we drove into Young. What impressed me so much, it still impresses me now, the place looked so clean. There were no empty shops at that time, all roundabouts and gardens looked brilliant, there was no graffiti. We thought wow how good does this look. That was basically the decision. Then I lucked into a vacancy. It happened a bit quicker than expected. We fell in love with the town as we drove into it."
Sergeant Colefax said he wished they made the move to Young 20 years ago.
"Coming from a metropolitan area where you really don't get to know the community that well, because there's so many of them, to out here... the amount of people that have wished me luck this week, it's amazing, it wouldn't happen in the city," he said.
"It's been absolutely great here in Young. Good bunch of cops here who work hard and quietly work away at what they have to do. The work-ethic here I found over the last 10 years is really, really good. They really, really care."
Working with good people and working in a regional area has been a highlight of his career. "There's been some fun times, and there's been a lot of things that weren't quite so much fun. I look back now and I think where's the last 34 years gone. The highlight of my career is definitely Young. As I said should have come out here 20 years ago," he said.
"The vast majority of police that I've worked with have been excellent. They do a good job, they care about what they do.
"That's a highlight to me, the people in the job. The people in communities as well. I think by and large people in the community do appreciate what the cops do."
Sergeant Colefax said he's witnessed huge changes in the NSW Police Force during his 34 years, mostly related to improvements in technology.
"It's obvious from the late 1980s to now technology alone has come ahead in leaps and bounds. We used to type all our reports up on a manual typewriter.
"We thought it was brilliant when we got electric typewriters," he said.
"There's been a lot of changes, most of them for the better.
"New information sharing and our intelligence is better. Technology involved in solving the crimes that do go on have come along in leaps and bounds as well."
Long service leave will carry sergeant Colefax's career through to 35 years in the force.
"That was my plan, 35 years," he said.
"I got a lot of work to catch up on on our little property and we want to do some travel and we'll take it from there."
Acting superintendent John Klepczarek congratulated sergeant Colefax at the Young Police Station on Thursday, following a barbecue lunch with colleagues, community corrections staff and emergency services personnel.
"Sergeant of police is probably one of the most important ranks in NSW Police. He's been there for a lot of people during that time. He should be proud of himself. It's a sad day for the town," acting superintendent John Klepczarek said.
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