Nimbin welcomes new police sergeant

By BOB DOOLEY Star Correspondent, Nimbin and district

AFTER several months without one, Nimbin police station has a new sergeant, and his sporty good looks and positive approach have already made him a hit in the community.

Sgt Mat Johnson represented Australia in whitewater canoeing and worked as a Nymboida River guide before joining the force. He has played and coached junior rugby league, union and touch football teams during a 16-year career.

"I am keen on maintaining a relatively high level of fitness," he said. "I have always enjoyed challenges, and pushing myself and those around me to achieve realistic goals."

With experience working at Campbelltown, Camden, Wee Waa, Coramba, as well as at the Operational Safety and Tactics Unit at Goulburn Police Academy, Sgt Johnson has a diverse background in community policing.

"My wife and I were very aware of the challenges that faced us by moving to Nimbin in a policing role," he said. "We did a lot of research and were lucky enough to be supported by Richmond Local Area Commander, Supt Lyons, to visit here before making our final decision."

The decision turned out to be good for Nimbin, and Sgt Johnson has moved to the village with his wife, Karen, and their three small children.

"We're planning on staying in the Richmond area, at least until the kids finish school," he said during%a meet-and-greet at the Nimbin%Women's Heartquarters."

Sgt Johnson has straightforward views on community policing.

"Every community is different, yet there are similarities across the board," he said.

"Everyone likes to feel safe and free to go about their normal law-abiding business.

"It has been comforting to see the vast majority of people all wanting to head in the same direction, towards a safe and happy community."

Nimbin will have its full complement of nine officers from mid-October.

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