Fast cars and excitement is what Win van der Velde was looking for when he signed up to be a police officer.
But after 37 years of service, the retiring Waikato District Commander says what he found was a greater sense of purpose.
Mr van der Velde will work his last day at Hamilton Central Police Station on Wednesday after announcing his retirement last week.
''I left school looking for an exciting occupation and a desire to drive fast cars,'' he said.
''What I found as I matured is that I actually had a desire to make a difference in the community, and hold those that offend to account.''
He has worked in various roles in Auckland, Gisborne, Wellington and the Waikato throughout his career.
He was appointed National Crime Manager in 2005 and became Waikato District Commander in 2010.
''I am very proud to have been given the opportunity to be the District Commander for Waikato and am very impressed every day by what my staff have, and continue to achieve for their community.
''I am not sure what the next chapter in my life will bring, but then I am also a great believer that you count the number of summers left until you are 70, because life is too short not to enjoy while you can.''
Mr van der Velde said he would like to thank the Waikato people for their ongoing support during his time at the helm.
''Particularly those members of the public who actively get involved with their communities, make the phone call about suspicious activity or intervene, sometimes at great personal risk, to make our collective community a safer place.
''Although not always acknowledged, this support is greatly appreciated.''
Police Commissioner Peter Marshall said Mr van der Velde can be proud of his many achievements over his long career.
Current District Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Chris Page, will take up the reins of the Waikato from Waitangi Day, pending the formal appointment process of the next District Commander.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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