New cop arrives in Alstonville
THE opportunity to concentrate on community policing was one of the reasons Senior Constable Andrew Ross was attracted to the role of Alstonville's resident cop.
After six years working just up the road at Tweed Local Area Command, Sen-Constable Ross, 34, said he jumped at the opportunity to throw his hat into the ring when he heard about the vacancy.
Now the town's newest police officer is thrilled with his latest posting which he said will allow him to work closely with the community.
His appointment comes after the Plateau community's three-year fight for permanent police, with tensions rising between residents and notorious young louts terrorising its streets.
He laughed at the suggestion he was moving from "Scotland Yard to Heartbeat".
"Community policing is always something I wanted to do as I was born and raised in small towns and villages," he said.
"I liked the contact with the community, with people who feel pride in the town where they live and work."
Sen-Constable Ross said after six years working on the New South Wales and Queensland border, he felt his new posting was ideal for a complete work-life balance.
He said he was familiar with the area and some of the personnel as they share some of the same radio channels.
"Having been up at Tweed, I'd heard a lot of talk about how good Alstonville is a place to live and raise kids," he said.
"So this was the right decision for us from a career and a family perspective."
While he's been busy getting to know the area, he said the locals have not been backwards in coming forward.
"I've had a tremendous response, everyone has been incredibly welcoming and I'd had lots of coffees and caught up with lots of locals," he said.
"I've only been here a week so I can't comment on any issues in the town, but I'll be sitting down with the bosses to work on our plans and I am keen to communicate with everyone living here."
He said despite being so new to town he has already almost been recruited into the town's water polo team at the pub on Saturday night.
Ballina police Sergeant Greg Woolfe said while Sen-Constable Ross is based in Alstonville for the majority of his shifts, he will continue to have back up from Ballina.
Sgt Woolfe said the community is fortunate to have such an excellent officer on hand.
"This position was advertised state-wide and we had a lot of quality applicants," he said.
"Andrew was selected as the best candidate for the job, we did not just plonk anyone in."
On the tricky subject of football, Sen-Constable Ross said he was always one to support the underdog and despite having lived in Queensland, he could see the value in supporting the blues for State of Origin.
Sen-Constable Ross said he undertook a business commerce degree before he decided at the ripe old age of 27 to follow his dream and join the force.
"I want people to know I'll be out on patrol so if they ring the station and I'm not in, I'll be out working but I will get back to them," he said.
"That's why I'm here."