Police work during quake recognised

FRANCESCA LEE
Last updated 13:14 10/10/2012
Geoff Brien
DEAN KOZANIC/Fairfax NZ

HONOUR: Police Commissioner Peter Marshall presents a Canterbury Earthquake Citation to Geoff Brien, who accepted it on behalf of his wife, Pam, who died in the CTV building collapse during the February 22, 2011, quake.

Michael Kneebone
DEAN KOZANIC/Fairfax NZ
WORK RECOGNISED: Constable Michael Kneebone was at the CTV building within two minutes of its collapse during the February 22, 2011, earthquake.

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An earthquake victim's husband has received a police citation on her behalf at an award ceremony to recognise the work of Canterbury police during the February 2011 quake.

Pam Brien, who had worked in the Christchurch child-abuse centre, was at a work appointment in the Canterbury Television building when the quake hit.

Husband Geoff said it was an honour to receive the Canterbury Earthquake Citation on her behalf.

"I might give it to her daughter and she can cherish it," he said.

The citations were awards created for "unique circumstances", said Police Commissioner Peter Marshall, who came to Christchurch to present the first 100 red and black ribbons to Canterbury police at HMNZS Pegasus today.

Of the 3600 police officers receiving the award, 1000 are from Canterbury.

Overseas rescue personnel, including Australian police, would also be presented with citations.

Assistant Commissioner for the South Island Dave Cliff told the gathered police: "[February 22, 2011] was probably the proudest day I have had in the police.

"I saw from one end of this place to the other you people in high-vis vests out there doing your job."

Allison Dunn, who was working in the police communication department on the third floor of the central-city police building when the quake hit, said it was "fantastic" to receive the citation.

"It's a nice way to be honoured and recognised for all we've done," she said.

She and her colleagues in the communication department did not leave the building immediately after the quake.

"We just kicked into gear and kept working,'' she said.

''It was chaos for the first couple of minutes. A quarter of the water sloshed out of the fish tank and on to the plugs, and the plugs were smoking. We sat back down and kept going."

Constable Michael Kneebone, who had been at the CTV building within two minutes of its collapse, said he was honoured to receive the citation.

"I'll probably chuck it on this thing [police blazer] for formal occasions," he said.

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