Top cop offers district wealth of experience
Bruce Bird has been appointed Waikato police district commander following Win van der Velde's retirement in February.
Bird has more than 36 years' experience with New Zealand police and has worked in roles both at district and area level, based mainly in South Auckland.
For the past two years Bird has been the national manager of prevention, based at police national headquarters.
There he was responsible for developing and implementing the NZ Police Prevention First strategy.
Bird was awarded a Queen's Service Medal in 2010 for services to the police when he was an inspector based at Counties Manukau.
At the time, he told Fairfax Media that receiving his medal at Government House was a career highlight.
While in Auckland, Bird worked on the Counties Manukau The Future project, which focused on bringing in 300 extra police officers. He has also served in Wellington and in Auckland city.
He has been committed to creating long-term solutions to problems such as gang violence, family violence, alcohol-related disorderly behaviour and community safety.
In 2008 Bird was security liaison officer to the New Zealand team at the Beijing Olympics.
At-risk youth has always been an area of policing he's been particularly enthusiastic about.
Bird is known for his no-nonsense leadership style and his positive attitude has enabled him to seek to improve the communities he has worked in.
"I've always seen that if you want to solve problems you must be engaged completely with the community," Bird said in 2010.
"When we had the problem with youth gangs in Counties Manukau west, I knew the solution would be in the community."
A keen rugby fan, he also coached at the Pakuranga Rugby Club for more than 12 years and spent several years as head coach of the club's under-21 team. Fairfax NZ