Two of Bendigo’s best police officers have been honoured with an inaugural award in memory of their late colleague Sergeant Craig Pearse.
Senior constables Rachel Colliver and Cary Towers were presented with the award at the police Christmas function on Friday night.
Inspector Mark Edwards said the award recognised the qualities of professionalism, team work and customer service that Sergeant Pearse exemplified.
Sergeant Pearse, a long-serving member in Bendigo before moving to Maryborough, passed away from a heart attack in September last year.
“We had been thinking about doing a high-achiever type award for a while, and a couple of police officers thought we should name it after Craig,” Inspector Edwards said.
“It’s great to recognise our top performers and even better to have something that has serious meaning attached to it.
“We’re keeping the memory of Craig well and truly alive.”
The Sergeant Craig Pearse Memorial Award covers the Bendigo police service area and takes in Bendigo uniform, crime investigation and highway patrol, as well as Eaglehawk, Heathcote, Goornong, Elmore and Axedale.
“We took into account a lot of things,” Inspector Edwards said.
“It isn’t just about stats, how many crooks someone catches or tickets issued.
“It’s about teamwork, leadership, supporting your mates and good customer service to the Bendigo community.”
The award was originally meant to go to just one officer but Inspector Edwards said it was too hard to split Senior Constable Colliver and Senior Constable Towers.
“In the past 12 months Rachel has been on the highway patrol her work output has been the highest in the western region,” he said, “Cary Towers rates similarly; their outputs are enormous, they work their guts out.
“They are both excellent mentors for the younger troops. The leadership they display is absolutely first-class. And their ethics have never been questioned.”
Inspector Edwards said the pair were both recognised for their “general enthusiasm” for their work. “Part of Rachel’s speech was, ‘its pretty easy to do a good job when you love your work’,” he said.
“Cary hates crooks and when there’s crimes committed he just loves to get out there and catch them.”
Senior Constable Towers said it was a “tremendous honour” to receive the award from Sergeant Pearse’s parents.
“He was held in very high regard and it’s a testament to what kind of guy he was,” he said.
Senior Constable Towers has worked in uniform for 10 years, and had a six month stint in crime investigation this year.
“I’m back in uniform now on general duties, doing all sorts of stuff, going out in the van, in the watch-house, prisoner escort.
“I enjoy the camaraderie that goes with it, and I enjoy getting out there and helping out where you can.”
Senior Constable Colliver, an officer of eight years, said she loved her role in Bendigo’s highway patrol.
“It’s not just handing out the tickets, we try to make a bit of a difference,” she said.
“I enjoy dealing with so many people. I enjoy working one-up and I enjoy being out on the road. We do a lot of kilometres.”