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“Old-school cop” calls time on policing

Saturday, 23rd May, 2015

Sergeant Greg McMahon kept a low profile as he passed by the honour guard on his last day as a police officer. PICTURE: Darrin Manuel Sergeant Greg McMahon kept a low profile as he passed by the honour guard on his last day as a police officer. PICTURE: Darrin Manuel

By Darrin Manuel

After serving the community for almost three decades, “old-school cop” Sergeant Greg McMahon turned in his gun and called time on his police career yesterday.

Sgt McMahon departed the station yesterday afternoon in front of a full police honour guard complete with a flag-bearer and bagpiper.

The 55-year-old didn’t linger in the spotlight however, closely trailing the piper and keeping a low profile before shaking hands with Superintendent Murray Reynolds and departing in a police car.

It was a humble and gracious exit for a policeman who has dedicated most of his life to protecting Broken Hill and his fellow officers.

A self-described “A-grouper”, Sgt McMahon’s working career began with seven years on the Zinc Mine as an electrician, before he signed up for the Police Force in August 1982.

He served in Sydney for a couple of years before returning to Broken Hill for a five-year stint in the mid 80s.

He then departed for Dubbo in 1989, before taking up a position as a lone officer in the tiny town of Carinda, south-west of Walgett.

While the isolated post would not have appealed to many, Sgt McMahon said he immensely enjoyed the quiet life in the outback.

“It was fantastic, it was one of best experiences of my life,” he said.

“It was a great time (for me), and a good spot to raise a family.”

His hometown also happened to be a great spot to raise a family, so when an opportunity arose to return to Broken Hill, Sgt McMahon said he and his family jumped at the chance.

“My wife was very pleased to come back, it’s a great place to raise kids and a great place to police.

“It’s a very pro-police town, it was a pretty easy 33 years, most of them in Broken Hill.”

Sgt McMahon said he had forged many friendships while on the force, and had the pleasure of working alongside some fine officers.

“I look back with fond memories of the magnificent professional police I’ve worked with over the years.

“Just here in Broken Hill I must have worked with hundreds over the years, and there are great memories.

“We had a lot of fun - a lot of hard times, a lot of good times, but most of all a lot of fun times.”

Sgt McMahon’s expertise won’t be completely lost to the force however, as he will take up a civilian role with the Barrier Local Area Command as a regional emergency management officer on Monday.

“All I’ll probably do is move a pencil case to another office, but I won’t be wearing a gun and won’t have the power of arrest, and all those things I’ve known for the last 33 years.

“I’m looking forward to a new career ... it’s going to be a huge challenge.

“I’m 55, so it’s going to be interesting learning again and going back to school, but it’s going to be terrific.

“But it’s mixed feelings ... in some ways it’s quite sad to finish and it hasn’t really hit home yet.”

His departure will no doubt already be felt by his colleagues, who hold him in high esteem, according to Superintendent Murray Reynolds.

“Sgt McMahon has had an outstanding with the NSW Police Force ... He’s highly regarded by his peers, the junior staff, and senior management team.

“He’s old school, he obviously joined up in the very early 80s, well before many of the police here were born... but he’s well abreast of technology.

“He’s a modern day cop, he embraces modern day policing, and he embraces the fine young police we have here today. He hasn’t stayed locked back in the 80s.”

Sgt McMahon will have a final send off at a retirement dinner next week, and he said he was looking forward to reminiscing with his old colleagues.

“I dare say we’ll tell a few war stories, and those who can’t remember, I’ll remind them.”

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