Stanthorpe Police officer-in-charge, Senior Sergeant Mark Ireland is set to retire after more than four decades of service.
Stanthorpe Police officer-in-charge, Senior Sergeant Mark Ireland is set to retire after more than four decades of service. Liana Turner

End of an era for Stanthorpe's top cop

STANTHORPE'S top cop will chalk up his final days on the job this month.

Officer-in-charge, Senior Sergeant Mark Ireland will wrap up in his role on December 29.

Sen Sgt Ireland has been with Queensland Police for almost 41 years and he said he had enjoyed every moment of his service.

"There have been good points and bad points but I can honestly say I've enjoyed every minute of it,” he said.

He's attended countless incidents in his time but Sen Sgt Ireland said he would always treasure the moments when a member of the public who had been helped by police had expressed their gratitude.

"They're probably the most important and precious memories you have,” he said.

Sen Sgt Ireland said he memories from every facet of policing, having spent 17 years as a detective and the remainder in uniform.

"I've dealt with a lot of crime, particularly as a detective and particularly in regards to offences against children,” he said.

"I've dealt with a lot of serious sexual and physical offences on children.

"Bringing offenders to justice for those offences I probably found very rewarding personally, being able to bring some closure to serious incidents like that.”

After being sworn in in 1979, Sen Sgt Ireland worked in Brisbane on the beat, also rotating through the traffic branch and city station.

He has since worked at Mitchelton and Mitchelton Criminal Investigation Branch, Nundah CIB, Gold Coast CIB, uniform policing at Gold Coast, Toowoomba and Palm Beach, Toowoomba and Gold Coast Juvenile Aid Bureau and was officer-in-charge at Gracemere before coming to Stanthorpe.

Sen Sgt Ireland said he'd always hoped to land the top job here. "My father owned a property 30 years ago, a small property out at Mount Tully,” he said.

"Myself and my wife used to camp on that property from time to time. I always said I'd love to come back as officer-in-charge of Stanthorpe.”

He said it had been a joy to work with the staff in Stanthorpe.

"I've been very proud to work with the staff here,” he said. "They donate a lot of their time looking after and getting involved in the general community.”

Sen Sgt Ireland said he'd seen many changes in policing throughout the years.

"There's been a lot of good changes in legislation, particularly with regards to domestic violence,” he said.

"While in my opinion the changes have been good, there's still a lot of work to be done with regards to streamlining the process for domestic violence.”

He said there had been improvements to officer safety, too.

"Prior to 1990 what we had was a gun and a baton,” he said.

"You wouldn't want to use the gun, naturally, and the baton is virtually useless. Now we have Tasers, and OC sprays so officer safety has improved, which is good.”

Sen Sgt Ireland said he would be spending more time with his wife upon retirement.

"I've got a wife who's quite ill and I need to prioritise things,” he said.

He said one of the most significant things he'd miss about policing was the camaraderie, and urged any aspiring or new officers to be loyal to their co-workers.

"Just be loyal to your mates,” he said.

"Keep a good work ethic and just look after your mates and they'll look after you.”

Stanthorpe Border Post


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