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Respected Ipswich police officer calls time on career

This year has seen the retirement of many respected Queensland Police Service officers from the Ipswich district with Senior Sergeant Kevin Harrigan being the latest to hang up his badge.

The Karana Downs police station officer in charge will retire in early December after a career spanning 43 years, 17 of which were spent in the Ipswich district.

Senior Sergeant Harrigan said he knew he wanted to be a police officer from a young age after seeing someone close to him doing good for his community.

“I was born in Papua New Guinea and a very good friend of our family was a native police officer there and I admired him for everything he did for our community,” he said.

Moving to Brisbane years later, his career aspirations became cemented and over four decades on Senior Sergeant Harrington has seen many changes including a shift in what it means to be a police officer.

“Arresting people is about three per cent of what we do, we do more domestics than crime now, we do dead bodies, fires and missing persons,” he said.

“We look after the old lady who rings up about the snake in her house or the possums in her roof at 3am.

“We do everything, we’re across all the services, it’s amazing what we do.

“We’re the main person that everyone turns to, to fix things and it’s been like that for years.”

After spending 20 of his early policing years in North Queensland at Proserpine Mr Harrigan said he was looking forward to moving back after retirement.

“I’ll be heading up north back to Proserpine to start a career in fishing,” he said.

“I’ve been in this job 43 years so I’m very used to coming into work, the only bad thing about this job is that is wears you down especially with 25 staff and 25 different personalities … there are always issues.”

Senior Sergeant Harrigan said it was being at work in the community which he loved the most.

“I won’t miss the human resources side of it, but it will be good to have my own time again,” he said.

It has been a big year for retirements in the Ipswich Policing District, with many seniors officers calling time.

Other Ipswich District police officers retiring this year include Senior Sergeant Gareth James, Senior Sergeant Mark Courtney, Senior Sergeant Robbie Goodger, Sergeant Peter Dale, Sergeant Wendy O’Neil, Sergeant Richard Brady and Senior Constable Craig Bellchambers – accounting for more than 150 years combined experience.

Ipswich City Council Community Safety and Innovation manager Larry Waite said each of the retiring officers had contributed to the success of the Safe City Program and helped create an important bond with the Ipswich community.

“They truly made a difference and paved the way for the next generation of police to follow,” Mr Waite said.

“It is sad that we lose so many so quickly, however this presents new opportunities for new relationships that I am sure will be just as strong.”

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