Bundaberg Police Sergeant Brett Gillard has seen the best and worst of people during his distinguished career over 38 years.
Brett donned his badge and cap for the last time today and was piped out with an official farewell.
As a fresh-faced cadet, Brett started his career as a constable stationed in Brisbane, before moving to the Gold Coast, Mount Isa and then Bundaberg, where he has remained for more than 20 years.
Brett said the reception from colleagues was overwhelming.
“It’s a little bit surreal,” he said.
“I’ve been here on so many occasions when we’ve piped other officers out and never though it would be me.
“I made the decision some time ago to actually retire and it’s been a bit of a countdown for me over the last 12 months.”
While Brett regards his time in Mount Isa as the most memorable, this year’s COVID response has been one of the most challenging and rewarding times on the force.
“Our response to COVID-19 really stands out,” he said.
“It’s been wonderful and it’s a sad time, but it’s also been a good time to be able to be involved in that response from a policing perspective.
“My job as an education training officer has been put on hold since March and I’ve very much been involved in coordination of COVID-19 and a number of deployments into border, hotel and quarantine duties.”
Having been with the Police for more than 30 years Brett has seen a number of changes take place, most notably the influence of technology.
He said some things, like the commitment to community safety, never changes.
“Crime and public safety is our number one consideration, but when I first joined, technology was a manual typewriter, a notebook and a telex machine,” he said.
“We’re at the stage now where we’ve got computerisation and people having tablets out in the field.
“It’s a very different way of policing but in a lot of ways, things haven’t changed in that we still investigate offences and respond to call for service.”
Brett said he now looks forward to relaxing and giving back to the community in a volunteer role.