What initially began as a passion to become a police diver turned into a lifelong service to community through the Queensland Police Service for retiring Inspector Pat Swindells.
The well-known QPS officer, who spent a culmination of nine years servicing the Bundaberg Region before transferring to Gympie in 2020, has celebrated his last day wearing his epaulettes.
Starting his career in the force at just 18, today he retires after over 40 years of service.
Following in his fathers’ footsteps as a police officer, Pat worked across many stations, in many roles, and had a positive impact on many communities
In 1987 Pat achieved his detective appointment and transferred to Bundaberg where he was stationed between 1988 and 1993.
“I started with Queensland Police Service back in 1980 and transferred to Bundaberg in 1988 after my time as a detective in Maryborough and Hervey Bay as I wanted a change in policing style,” he said.
“I followed my dad’s footsteps as he was a detective in Bundaberg in the late 60s and 70s and he came back and retired in Bundaberg.
“After growing up in Bundaberg, it was great to return to the region and work as a Senior Constable.
“I was put in charge of a crime unit, and it was our responsibility to take control of the petty crime and drug investigations to allow the detectives to focus on more serious crimes.”
A promotion to Sergeant in 1993 resulted in Pat’s transfer to Longreach.
Then, in 2016, Pat came back to the Bundaberg Region as the Bundaberg Patrol Group Inspector after serving many years in the Logan District.
“It was great to return to the region,” he said.
“When I came back as an inspector there were a lot of crime and drug issues and a lot of socioeconomic crime related to unemployment and drugs.
“One of the things I felt like I achieved was driving this crime rate down over the four years.”
Pat said a passion for policing had been instilled in him through his father Frank, who was a Detective Senior Constable in the Bundaberg Criminal Investigation Branch from 1965 to 1972.
The family affair is set to continue even after Pat retires, with his son Scott a constable in Townsville.
Mayor Jack Dempsey congratulated Pat on his retirement and thanked him for his service to the region.
“Pat has been a fantastic leader for the whole district with his cool and calm attitude; we’ve been very lucky to have benefitted from his professionalism and expertise,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“He has also contributed in many other ways to the community, and we wish him all the best in his retirement.”
Pat said with some free time now on the horizon he was looking forward to spending it with his family while still hoping to keep active by finding work in Disaster Management.
“My wife is looking forward to the phone not ringing at all hours of the night!” he laughed.
“I still hope to keep active by looking for roles in the Disaster Management field.”
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