FAREWELL: Love of bush never left retiring Bay cop
TO THE sound of bagpipes, police officers from across the region lined up in a guard of honour outside Hervey Bay station for Sergeant Paul Jervis's last ride in a police car after a four decade career on Friday.
In September 1980, the English-born, South African-raised former army signalman walked into the police academy for the first time.
"I left the army and applied for three jobs and the police were the only ones to get back to me," he said with a laugh.
Just shy of 40 years on the force, Sgt Jervis served at Acacia Ridge, Holland Park and Woolloongabba police stations before landing on a motorbike at the Ipswich traffic branch in the 1980s.
Attending his fair share of fatal traffic crashes, Sgt Jervis said when dealing with death, gruelling work was all for the relatives.
"You try and satisfy them as much as you can to find out what happened. Some of those fatals out bush you never find out what happened, if they fell asleep or if they swerved for a kangaroo. You just don't know, so you have to investigate it as fully as you possibly can and satisfy those relatives and say 'this is what we think happened'," he said.
From there, Sgt Jervis got the boss's job at Winton and was the Officer in Charge from 1990 to 1995.
Leaving the six-man-station, he transitioned to Longreach and into plain clothes for a detective's appointment.
It was then Sgt Jervis joined the infamous stock squad.
"I investigated the theft of cattle, sheep and horses," he explained.
"We used motorbikes, horses, helicopters and obviously our four-wheeled-drives.
"Running around with the stock, mustering and chasing thieves - it was great fun."
Country policing is a different beast to the beat in the cities, Sgt Jervis explained.
"It could be difficult to differentiate between the job and normal life because everyone knows you are the local cop when you go into the local store," he said.
After 20 years living in the bushland of western Queensland, Sgt Jervis headed to Hervey Bay where he has spent the better part of the last decade, his own team of first responders.
"The biggest change I have seen in 40 years was the Fitzgerald Inquiry," he said.
"And the change from manual typewriters to computers. I still remember my first police car was an XC Ford Falcon. The technology is just leaps ahead and we have so many more officers and so many more female officers too."
As he begins pre-retirement leave, Sgt Jervis said he wasn't done with the workforce and planned to take a job with Fraser Coast Regional Council working as a ranger in Hervey Bay.
"As a cop, I think what I love is just being able to help people," he said.
"Whether it is a serious offence, working with a team and getting the bad guy at the end - that is great satisfaction but it's also the old lady down the street who had been harassed by the local grub and one day you get him and it's just as satisfying.
"I can't think of any one thing, it's been great' the whole lot, to be honest."