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40 years of fighting crime

Inspector Merv Adamson.
Inspector Merv Adamson. Rob Williams

FOUR decades in the Queensland Police Service have taken Inspector Merv Adamson to every corner of the state - from Cairns and Kowanyama to Cherbourg and the Brisbane CBD.

While he has treasured every experience - good and painful - since being sworn in as a 19-year-old in December 1973, Insp Adamson is glad the long road eventually brought him to Ipswich.

The 58-year-old veteran's successful stint in the city got even sweeter this week when he was awarded the National Police Service Medal - a recognition not only of long service but also of diligence and ethical conduct.

Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson presented the newly established medals to 34 officers in Brisbane on Tuesday.

For Insp Adamson, it was a reward for the years spent not only leading traffic branches or internal investigation units in the big smoke, but also of his earlier days working in remote Aboriginal communities in the far north and out at Cherbourg.

At the age of 21, a then fresh-faced constable was sent into a two-officer station at Kowanyama - a community so remote there was no radio, no telephone and no police vehicle.

"I learned a heck of a lot from just being around the indigenous people and hearing their stories," Insp Adamson said.

"Probably the biggest thing I learned was patience. I remember following an Aboriginal tracker called George Musgrave out in the bush for three days.

"We were tracking an arsonist and George would be able to look at the ground and tell you where the guy had stopped and got into a truck.

"When they eventually caught the arsonist and interviewed him, his movements tied in with what George had said."

There was another six-month stint in Kowanyama in 1976 before Insp Adamson landed a job in Brisbane.

He was part of the Brisbane mobile patrols unit of the time, which he said was "very effective, reactive policing" that responded to a wide range of major incidents.

One of the few bad experiences during a long and successful career came after he joined the traffic branch and became a motorcycle cop.

While chasing a speeding driver near the Grey St bridge, he hit a patch of diesel and slid across the road, passing underneath a truck.

"I woke up in hospital with a brace on and thought I had broken my neck," he said.

While not paralysed, the damage to the C3 and C4 discs in his neck were not expected to heal quickly. With help of his then-girlfriend-now-wife Jane, Insp Adamson was back on his feet in about three months.

The next year, the couple moved to Mt Molloy - a single officer station north-west of Cairns in which Insp Adamson's division covered 8000sq km.

After being promoted to sergeant in 1984, Insp Adamson went to Murgon and then Cherbourg, where he again worked closely with the Aboriginal community.

The family moved to Ipswich in 1991.

Despite taking up important roles with the Ethical Standards Command in the past 10 years, including state co-ordinator of internal investigations, he jumped at the chance to come back in 2009.

"I intend to stay here until I retire, which will be when I turn 60 in 2014," he said.

"The reason I asked to come back to Ipswich was because it is such a pleasure to see how the young police do their work and advance themselves to higher roles. Ipswich is well served by some very dedicated people."

Topics:  bob atkinson police



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