Cops Descend on Ballina
Ballina became a real life action movie as leading senior constable Amanda Vidler grabbed a custom made baton from a moving helicopter near Fawcett Street wharf.
The baton was lowered 10m with a Westpac Life Saver Rescue crew member who dangled meters above the water as the helicopter chased the police officer who was on a jet ski.
The dramatic start to the relay was watched by a class of enthralled Ballina Public School students and Superintendent Doreen Cruickshank, the longest-serving policewoman in NSW, and Superintendent Karen Webb.
The baton relay continued down River Street finishing at Missingham Park amphitheater where an enormous display of memorabilia and police paraphernalia were on display.
Superintendent Cruickshank said that she had seen invaluable changes to the police force in her 44 years of policing since starting in 1971.
"Women are now able to enter any area of policing they wish to as compared to a time when they had to police without a weapon or uniform.
"If you have the interest and the motivation you can achieve whatever you want. "
Superintendent Karen Webb believes it is a huge milestone for the industry after the first two women joined the force in 1915.
"Even up until 1961 women had to leave the police if they got married and there has been a lot of change in the last 50 years and we enjoy the benefits of those forbearers that went before us," she said.
The custom made NSW baton started its journey in Sydney in March and will return to the metropolis as part of a final parade honouring women in the police force on September 3rd at the Sydney Opera House.
The baton will continue on to Coffs Harbour next as it makes its way through every local area command.