Officers take long road to honours
Two police officers who have clocked up more than 70 years of service patrolling the region's roads have been recognised for their dedication.
Senior constable Peter Carmody and former senior sergeant Eric Davy were given awards by Tasman District Police Commander Superintendent Richard Chambers last week.
Both men spoke of the challenges of the job, particularly attending fatal crashes.
"One of the hardest things is being with people in serious road crashes where you are seeing them take their last breath of life," Mr Carmody said.
In the first 11 years he worked in Wakefield there were 32 fatalities.
Mr Carmody said what helped fuel his motivation for the job was "when you can do something and it can change someone's life for the better." He also recalled terrifying moments on the road, such as when a man, later convicted of murder, drove a vehicle straight at him.
"I had to run for my life, he wrote my patrol car off. Even after he crashed he was still trying to have a go at me. This was after he'd left a women for dead after bashing her repeatedly with a brick."
Mr Davy said fatal accident spots, dotted around the region's roads, were powerful reminders of why he had stayed in the job so long.
He has seen some progress in road safety. When he started as a Tasman Police Highway team leader there were 40 fatalities a year, the next year there were 20 and now it stood at about 15, he said.
Earlier this year, Mr Davy, a Nelson city councillor, retired from the police force after 41 years.
Mr Carmody has spent 35 years on patrol, first with the former Ministry of Transport and then police, and remains a member of the Tasman police highway patrol.
- © Fairfax NZ News