A Taranaki police officer was one of six to receive a prestigious new award this week for outstanding service to his community.
Sergeant Terry Johnson received the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) from Police Commissioner Peter Marshall at national headquarters.
The MSM gained Royal approval in October and fills a gap between existing internal awards and the higher Royal Honours, including the New Zealand Bravery Awards.
Mr Johnson's citation described him as committed to continuous improvement and constantly promoting initiatives to prevent crime and reduce harm.
"He is a leader in fields as diverse as internet crime, second-hand dealers, Neighbourhood Support and the reduction of harm caused by psychoactive substances," it stated.
Mr Johnson said he was humbled to receive the accolade and believed it was also a reflection of the staff he worked with.
"I was blown away, to be fair," the 38-year veteran of the police force said. "You are only as good as the people around you. I see it as something that all police in Taranaki can claim credit for, not just me.
"I've been lucky over the years to have good bosses who have allowed me the scope to do things and push the boundaries to get results."
Mr Johnson credited his success to the strong partnerships he had developed within the community.
"It's a huge part when you are talking community policing, we can't do it on our own, we have got to do it with the help of our community."
Taranaki area commander Inspector Blair Telford said it was pleasing to have an officer singled out for national recognition but believed it was a reflection of the hard work and dedication of all Taranaki staff.
"He's made a significant contribution to policing both in central and north Taranaki."
Mr Marshall said the prestigious new medal was the culmination of many years of research and consultation.
"Only a small number of these medals will be awarded each year to reflect the special value they hold within police," he said.
- Taranaki Daily News
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