News

A day in the life of traffic policeman

Calliope Police Sergent Darryl Richter and his highway patrol car.
Calliope Police Sergent Darryl Richter and his highway patrol car. Luka Kauzlaric

THE worst thing for police at fatalities is dealing with the trauma caused to families.

"It's seeing how it affects emergency workers and the people first on the scene at an accident," Calliope Road Policing Unit Acting Senior Sgt Darryl Richter said.

"I've seen a lot of deaths in my 24 years as a policeman, and it's the death of a young person that gets to you the most.

"And it's often preventable. If you're going on a trip, plan for it and stop for a rest.

"It might be painful to stop every two hours but it makes a difference."

Sgt Richter said he had also seen some funny excuses for speeding.

"There was a man at Mt Larcom who threw himself down on the road and pretended to collapse," he said.

"Those were the days when you had to pay for your ambulance.

"When he realised we were about to call for help and that he would need to pay for it, he suddenly jumped up again and was okay."

He said some of the speeds clocked in Gladstone, such as 113kmh in a 60 zone, were "disappointing and scary".

"If something happens, it's just silly and you are looking at fines over $1000, a six-month licence suspension and the loss of eight demerit points."

He said road policing was not about revenue raising.

"We have to deter people from doing the wrong thing," he said. "There will always be an element that will deliberately do the wrong thing."

Sgt Richter said he'd like all police to have cameras on their helmets.

"There are issues with civil liberties and a massive amount of data, but it would provide protection for our members."

He said the cameras would also help if police saw someone doing something wrong, like talking on their mobile phones while driving.

"Often it's our word against their's and that would help a lot."

Sgt Richter said there was a specific taskforce dealing with drug drivers.

"They have specific equipment for drug testing, which is in the process of being branched out," he said.

"Some drivers take illicit drugs instead of alcohol to avoid detection and we don't have 100% coverage with that equipment yet."

Motorbike police are a specialised part of the unit and they often do clandestine work.

"They can park somewhere and work in a different style, because of their abilities in observation and being able to move freely in traffic," he said.

Topics:  calliope, fatality, gladstone police, jobseeker advice, road toll



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