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Community & Business

19 June, 2023

Goodbye to officers farewelling the district

It’s not “goodbye”, but “see you later” for two wellliked Gilgandra police officers.

By Emily Middleton

Leading senior constable, Jamie Tebbenhoff, and senior constable, Iain Hayes, (apologies for last week’s spelling errors in the Classifieds) are both finishing-up in Gilgandra and Tooraweenah in the coming weeks, and the community held a memorable send-off for the two over the weekend. Senior constable Tebbenhoff came to Gilgandra in 2018, after previously working at Blacktown in western Sydney for 12 years.

“I came for a lifestyle change, and it was only meant to be a three-year move but, since moving to Gilgandra, my wife and I really liked it, and we didn’t want to move back to the city,” he said.

It’s therefore a rather sad goodbye for senior constableTebbenhoff, who loves Gilgandra and its people. As Gilgandra Police Station’s “lock-up keeper”, he lived in town and was on-call at all times as jobs came in. Now moving not too-far up the road to Bathurst, he said that Gilgandra will always hold a special place in his heart.

“As a police officer (in the city), you never really got to see the impact of what your work does, because the population is so big and so vast,” he explained.

“But here, when you lock someone up - say they’ve been doing break-ins, you really notice the impact and how much better the community is for it.”

Senior constable Hayes, meanwhile, feels much the same way about his community of Tooraweenah. Also the station’s lock-up keeper, he has resided in the village for just over three years, after previously working in Dubbo for two years.

“An opportunity came-up to take on the position in Tooraweenah village and, at that time, I’d always wanted to do a country community-style policing role,” he said.

“But even in Dubbo, it’s a large city, so you don’t really get that community aspect of it all. So, I took that position, and I absolutely loved and enjoyed my time out there,” he added.

Tooraweenah locals also know senior constable Hayes, from his helping-hand at the Lions Club, show society, or even on the greens having a hit at the golf club.

“I’ve loved just interacting with the community and getting to know everybody,” he said.

“It’ll be sadly missed, that community out there,” he said. “There’s no greater thrill”, he added, “than making a difference”.

“But something somebody said to me years ago, is you could live in a city with 100,000 people, and be the loneliest person in the world.

“But come int to a great little community like Gilgandra and Tooraweenah, and be friends with everybody and anybody. That’s just the style of community that Gilgandra and Tooraweenah is, which I will definitely miss,” he added.

Luckily for senior constable Hayes, he also isn’t moving too far and will start his next adventure in Coonabarabran shortly.

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