New role for veteran SAR man

Last updated 12:30 13/10/2012

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Former Tasman police assistant search and rescue co-ordinator Sherp Tucker has a new job as a police camera car operator.

Tasman police district commander Richard Chambers said Mr Tucker was offered the fulltime position last month following the resignation of another colleague.

Mr Tucker has worked for the police since 2000 and has been a search and rescue (SAR) volunteer since the 1960s.

He lost his job in a police restructure targeting non-sworn staff to save money.

The Tasman police district is the only police district in New Zealand to have a paid SAR assistant.

The loss of his job has caused concern in the Nelson SAR community, with people worried about the loss of his experience and knowledge.

Mr Chambers said Mr Tucker had made a significant contribution to search and rescue over many years and he had invited him to remain involved in SAR on the same basis as his other 25 police officers involved in SAR across the district.

He would be used when the need arose.

Mr Chambers said it was important for the Tasman police district to have a succession plan for SAR and he had invited Mr Tucker to help with training and mentoring.

"The ball is in his court in terms of what involvement he would like to have."

Mr Chambers said whether Mr Tucker remained involved or not there was still the need to develop the capacity in SAR across the whole district.

"We have very, very good SAR leaders now. I want to develop more in the next few years to ensure that when numbers move on we have the same depth of experience to deploy."

Mr Tucker had a party to mark the end of his position as police assistant search and rescue coordinator last night.

He confirmed he was offered the camera car operator role and wanted to tell people last night.

Mr Tucker said he intended to set up a business around training search and rescue. His services would be free to local groups, but would cost others.

Mr Tucker said the camera car job with police was a convenient opportunity to take until he had set up his search and rescue training business.

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- The Nelson Mail

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