Goornong officer a welcome addition

Goornong Police Station’s new officer in charge has put hoons on notice.

Leading Senior Constable Darren Scherger said motorists treating Barnadown Road as a “drag strip” would now have him to deal with.

The Goornong station has been without a permanent officer for 18 months and local residents were concerned the station faced closure.

Leading Senior Constable Scherger said it was understandable communities wanted a full-time police presence.

“I will be a regular police visual presence, having a police car just floating through every so often doesn’t do as much,” he said.

“In the first three to six months I will find out what the problems are and address them.”

Leading Senior Constable Scherger said the Midland Highway and Barnadown Road would require a lot of attention.

“Having a major highway and by-way you have high speeds, fatigue and alcohol to deal with,” he said.

“Barnadown Road can sometimes be seen as a drag strip, a quick way to get to Echuca.

“I am ex-Highway Patrol and we will have all the equipment they do, radars, laser and stationary speed detection.” Leading Senior Constable Scherger’s new beat stretches from Goornong down to Huntly.

He will also help cover Elmore and Raywood, two districts also protected by one-man stations.

“The crime stats are very low for this area and I want to keep it that way,” he said.

“We get spate crime, farm burglaries and things like that, but the only way to reduce that is through visibility.”

From October 20 Leading Senior Constable Scherger will be working full-time out of the Goornong station, on-call after hours.

He said he would be mixing up his shifts so people didn’t get complacent.

“The Goornong and Huntly pubs have a 1am liquor licence so I will be working late some nights,” he said.

“Complacency is the biggest issue in the country. People think ‘there’s no cop around, I’ll just take the risk and drive home’.

“A visible presence should knock that in the head.”

Leading Senior Constable Scherger was born and bred in Bendigo and has served in Bendigo, Heathcote and Axedale and enjoyed country policing.

“With country policing you go to a job, then follow it through to a resolution, that’s what attracts me, getting the satisfaction at the end,” he said.

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