CROWDS lined Auburn Street three deep to acknowledge officers past, present and future on the day the New South Wales Police Force celebrated its 150th anniversary.
Hundreds watched as police marched down the city’s main street and into Belmore Park and listened as Mayor Geoff Kettle and Youth Council member Jakub Nabaglo paid homage to the force on Friday.
The occasion culminated with Cr Kettle presenting Goulburn Local Area Command Superintendant Gary Worboys the keys to the city and a framed commemorative scroll.
Officers from the Police Rescue Squad entertained the scores of school children by abseiling down the Soldiers Club’s walls once official ceremonies concluded.
The occasion wasn’t lost on those about to join 16,000 strong police force.
More than 200 students from the NSW Police Academy, among them two Sydneysiders inspired by the reception, paraded down Auburn St to the applause of onlookers.
“It’s a proud moment,” said Luke Reynolds, a Police College student from Baulkham Hills.
“We’re probably one of the only classes that got to march through the town before actually becoming cops.”
Fellow student Christopher Lewis, from the southwest Sydney suburb of Narellan, agreed.
“It’s special to me because my father was in the police,” he said.
“Being able to march out before we graduate is a bit of an experience. To see the people turn out I suppose was a bit shocking. We weren’t expecting that many people.”
Mayor Geoff Kettle, Youth Council member and Mulwaree High School prefect Jakub Nabaglo and Superintendant Worboys addressed a crowd that included councillors Margaret O’Neill and Sam Rowland, state MPs Pru Goward and Katrina Hodgkinson and students from each of Goulburn’s schools.
The best reception was saved for 16- year-old Nabaglo, who defied perceptions that today’s youth lack respect for the law.
“Many of us aspire to become police officers. Unfortunately, the stereotypical young person is not like that,” he said.
“The stereotypical teenager is an arrogant, self-centred, materialistic, lazy delinquent who never ceases to search for new ways to intoxicate himself. At least that’s the idea you get by reading the daily newspaper and watching the nightly news.
“We are being portrayed as individuals who have little respect for the law and much dislike for the police force. But the youth in Goulburn are not like this.
“With a few rare exceptions, we are motivated and hardworking. We obey the law and admire our police force.”
Superintendant Worboys said the anniversary was as much a tribute the community as the police force.
“What we need to understand is that the people in this town are as much responsible for crime and community as your police officers are,” he said during a speech from the Belmore Park rotunda.
“It’s a strong partnership that is there and continues, I hope, well into the future.”
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