Leading Senior Constable Bob Monkley has hung up his hat after 41 years in the NSW Police Force including 32 years at Yass Police Station.
Constable Monkley can remember when witness statements were handwritten; accident reports were steadily punched out on manual typewriters and officers would communicate between locations via telex – short for teleprinter exchange – the predecessor of the fax machine.
Then when you wanted to find an old report, you headed into the room brimming with filing cabinets.
“It was time-consuming back then. Now it is all done on the computer and recorded on body cameras, which make it a lot easier for everyone,” Constable Monkley said.
He joined the force aged 17 in 1979 and began work on the beat in Sydney, moving to the Riverina before joining Yass Police Station.
While the way officers do their job has changed over the years, the work has not, Constable Monkley said.
“You still deal with domestic violence and accidents,” he said.
Now, more than ever, officers are in the public eye, and they are aware of that, Constable Monkley said.
“Everything you do is under scrutiny. We know that, and it has been a matter of the service gravitating towards riding with the times and change. The service is getting to a point where it can change and compete with everything else that is going on and not leave us in a position where we are always behind the eight-ball,” he said.
The most prominent case Constable Monkley ever worked on was a murder in Murrumbateman village in the ‘90s.
Teaching others the experience gained from 41 years in the service has been Constable Monkley’s greatest achievement.
“I have been training other officers for about 20 years and seeing them go on and further within the service has been very rewarding,” he said.
Building a strong connection with the community also gave Constable Monkley great satisfaction.
“It is not just the ones we deal with negatively. You also get to meet and interact with a lot of members of the community in a positive way,” he said.
“You also get taught how to handle different situations, how to adapt and read people and situations because it is always changing.”
It was not an easy decision for Constable Monkley to retire, but one that was pressed by his age and a few niggling injuries.
However, while his confidence for confrontation on the streets may have lessened, it has never been stronger on the footy pitch, and Constable Monkley promises his long-standing association with the Yass Touch Association will continue.
Eventually, Constable Monkley and his partner will relocate towards the north coast to be closer to his father, aged 93, and her children.