Recruits eager to take their place in the ranks
By JANE GARDNER
THE thin blue line got a little thicker yesterday with the addition of four new probationary constables to the streets of Ballina and Lismore.
Fresh from eight months of training at the Goulburn Police Academy, Karen Charles-Hart, Ben Tuckett, Kylie Bartolo and Steve Buchanan are looking forward to hitting the ground running.
"We're all pretty excited to be here," Const Buchanan said.
"Everyone is really looking forward to getting out there."
Probationary constables Tuckett and Bartolo will be posted in Ballina, while probationary constables Charles-Hart and Buchanan will be based in Lismore.
Richmond Local Area commander Supt Bruce Lyons said the stations would welcome the new recruits with open arms.
"We welcome the new officers and I'm sure the community will be glad to see them out there as well," Supt Lyons said.
"There are a further eight officers coming to the area soon, and we'll be making concerted efforts to get more."
A new officer for Nimbin is among the police due to start work next year.
"Hopefully we will be able to recruit more from the May academy class," Supt Lyons said.
Recruits graduate from the Police Academy three times a year ? in May, August and December ? after undertaking rigorous physical and academic training.
For their first three months of service the probationary constables will work alongside an experienced senior officer.
Their progress will be monitored and if they pass their academic and field exercises they will receive promotions.
Supt Lyons said he had been pushing for more staff for months.
"There has been a joint effort by us and community leaders to get more police for our area," he said.
"Thomas George (Lismore MP) and all of the mayors have supported me, and I thank them.
"These four recruits are all good people and we're happy to have them on board."
The Northern Rivers sent eight officers to Newcastle last Friday to assist with riot control. They are now back from their duty there after minimal riot activity took place over the weekend.
"These police have been specially trained to deal with public disorder and riots, but thankfully nothing significant happened while they were down there," Supt Lyons said.