Goulburn Police Academy principal Julie Middlemiss presided over her 22nd and last attestation parade on Friday as 199 excited probationary constables completed their training.
Chief Superintendent Middlemiss took up the position seven years ago and has seen more than 5000 recruits become fully fledged police officers.
“It’s a good time to do something different,” Chief Superintendent Middlemiss told The Post.
“I came here from the Police Dog Unit (at Menai) and this is a good opportunity to go back to a metropolitan command.”
The chief superintendent will join the Metropolitan Traffic Command based in Sydney.
She said a highlight had simply been the ability to train new probationary constables and watch them turn into police officers.
“I also look around the Academy and see the amount of infrastructure put in over the last few years. It looks good,” she said.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller paid tribute to her at Friday’s ceremony.
“Julie has done an outstanding job,” he told the crowd.
“One of the great challenges for commanders is to leave the command in better shape than when you arrived, and you certainly did that. You should be proud.”
Out on the parade ground, recruits were also bursting with pride. They had just completed eight months’ study at the Academy’s Charles Sturt University campus.
Constable Ryan Woodbury was never in any doubt about his career path. His brother, Christopher Orman, and sister, Caitlin Woodbury, are already serving in the force.
“It’s just the variety of the work and the challenge every day,” he said.
“The course has been mentally and physically fatiguing but the people who taught us were just awesome. (But now) I’m excited about starting work, I can’t wait.”
For Thomas Gates, it was all about “giving back.”
“I volunteer with the RFS and this is another step up...Every day is different and I hope I can help someone every day,” he said.
It was a message drilled home by NSW Governor David Hurley AC DSC.
“Lead by example. (It’s) easy said, hard to do,” he told the probationary constables.
“You are going to stations where there are incredibly capable people to help you but most of all, remember that you are there for the people of NSW.
“It’s not about you, it’s not about the force or your career, it is for the well being, the safety and security of the people of NSW. Hold that up first, make that your test in every decision you make and you will do well. We all have enormous faith in you.”
Police Minister Troy Grant described them not as the “thin blue line” but the solid blue wall that stood between “chaos and civility.”
“You’ll be confronted day in and day out. Your innocence will be tested. Not every day will be easy, lots of them will be incredibly tough,” he said.
“So I ask you, don’t be too proud to ask for help - to lean on your brother and sister in blue. You are now part of the NSW Police Force family. They will be there to support you.”
Commissioner Fuller reinforced this point, describing it as an act of courage to put one’s hand up for help.
“We’ve all done it at some stage in our career and from my perspective, in terms of longevity in the workforce you’ll have to be courageous and compassionate but you’ll also have to know your limitations and when it’s time to throw your hand up for help. That is what you will get,” he said.
He urged the recruits to put their commitment to community first. If they did so, they would have his unwavering loyalty. But he also sounded a note of caution.
“We’ve talked about integrity a lot,” he said.
“You don’t lose your integrity, you give it away and if you do that, unfortunately you are giving away your career as a police officer.”
Class 332 included 150 men and 49 women, with the eldest aged fifty. Nine were Aboriginal.
They will now complete 12 months on-the-job training and study by distance education with Charles Sturt University. They officially graduate with an Associate Degree in Policing Practice once they have passed all academic and operation standards. The officers will then be confirmed to the rank of constable.
Most will start work next week.
Other guests at Friday’s ceremony included Goulburn MP Pru Goward, Mayor Bob Kirk, Assistant Deputy Commissioner Regional NSW Field Operations Gary Worboys, Hume Local Area Commander Andrew Koutsoufis and former NSW Police Commissioner Tony Lauer.
Assistant Commissioner retires
Friday’s parade was also a chance to farewell retiring Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch APM after 37 years of service.
He joined the police as a trainee in 1980. His first posting was to No. 15 division at Maroubra Police Station as a general duties officer, before commencing criminal investigations in 1984. He was designated as a detective 1986.
Between 1986 and 1996, he worked at numerous specialist squads at the Criminal Investigation Branch and the Region Crime Squad South. Following this, he transferred to Waverley where he was promoted to inspector in 1999.
He was attached to the Olympic Security Command Centre between September 1999 and October 2000 where he was appointed the venue commander for the Olympic Beach Volleyball event at Bondi Beach.
In 2004 he was appointed to superintendent and in 2009 he was appointed Assistant Commissioner where he assumed command of Southern Region. In 2010 he was appointed Central Metropolitan Region Commander where he was also the Domestic and Family Violence Corporate Sponsor. In 2014, he worked as the Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Commander until his retirement last month.