Life on the highway makes Ewan Findlater happy
HE'S donned the blue uniform for almost 30 years and admits that even he gets blasé about the dangers of being a motorist.
Officer in Charge of the Rockhampton Road Policing Unit Senior Sergeant Ewan Findlater was today awarded the Queensland Police Meritorious Service Medal.
Superintendent Ron Van Saane, in presenting the medal, said Snr Sgt Findlater has been an inspirational leader, performing a professional and ethical role.
Talking with The Bulletin after the ceremony, Snr Sgt Findlater said it was only after one of their own colleagues is injured in the line of duty are they reminded "it could go bad really easily”.
"Probably one that impacted me the most was one of my sergeants, Dan Beasy (Deniel Beasy) who was on the motorbike up north of Proserpine,” he said.
Read about Sergeant Deniel Beasy's story here: HORRIFIC CRASH: 'I thought that was the end of my life'
"The initial reports we got from that were not good for him. It was that he was probably going to die.”
Snr Sgt Findlater said that was particularly hard for him as Dan wasn't just a colleague, but he is also a friend.
"But any time you see a police officer get involved in anything like that, it certainly brings home the dangers of it,” he said.
"We get a bit blasé about it. We do it every day. We hop in the car. We drive up the road. We do a u-turn in front of trucks and just to do what we do. It (a police officer involved in a crash) reminds you it could go bad really easily. It keeps you focused.”
And it's not just injured police officers that brings the dangers of motoring home.
"I've been to some horrific fatal crashes. It's quite horrendous what can happen to people, to human bodies, in crashes, particularly when they involve children,” Snr Sgt Findlater said.
"It was probably more so once I became a father myself and I had my own kids... It becomes a lot more realistic. You feel it a lot more.”
Despite the dangers of the job, Snr Sgt Findlater has no plans of going anywhere.
"I think I like the fact that we just hop in a car and just go and do our work,” he said.
" (You) do a lot of highway patrols. So one day you are up north and the next day you might be down the beach working down there. There's a lot of variety which is good.
"....if I can keep doing this for the next 10 years or so that I've got left, I will be more than happy.”
For the Rockhampton-born police officer, it wasn't always 'hop in the car and drive up the highway'.
When he joined Queensland Police in the mid 80s, he had lead a sheltered life. That is, until his first posting - the Gold Coast.
"Everything happened on the Gold Coast so I got exposure to a lot of different sides of policing,” Snr Sgt Findlater said.
He said there was a lot of alcohol related offences, petty crime and dead bodies.
"A lot of people retired on the Gold Coast and unfortunately die. I seemed to catch a lot of those sort of things,” Snr Sgt Findlater said.
As for the petty crime down there in the late 1980s, he said you would go "all day from break and enter to break and enter to someone having something stolen”.
"It was always very busy and full on,” Snr Sgt Findlater said.
He didn't stay long on the Gold Coast (April 1987 - April 1988).
"I went to Expo. My whole squad got taken back to Brisbane and worked at Expo in '88,” Snr Sgt Findlater said.
"That was quite a remarkable experience actually to have the whole world there in Brisbane.
"I did sometime at Expo and a couple of suburban stations in Brisbane and came back to Rockhampton. And I've been here ever since.”
He said one of the things that has changed since he started was the way staff were looked after if they had responded to a traumatic incident.
"We have quite an extensive support network these days. It's gotten better over the years. Initially, there wasn't a lot. What is available to us (now) is immense,” Snr Sgt Findlater said.
"If someone is struggling, there are plenty of places they can go and get that help.
"I've been fortunate it hasn't, I don't think it has... maybe it has... I haven't had too much adverse reaction to it. It's never an enjoyable thing but I guess it's part of the job, you deal with it and you move on.”