Coast cop calls time on epic 40-year career
FORTY years is a long time in any career.
So four decades spent chasing criminals and keeping the community safe has left Senior Constable Kelvyn Grant more than content with his slide into retirement, having hung up his holster on August 31.
His service history reads like an ultimate Queensland road map, after starting out as a 19-year-old.
Beginning in Brisbane on traffic duties, Snr Const Grant had about 18 months in Toowoomba working in traffic, general duties and plain clothes, then it was on to Gympie for traffic and general duties, while spending time in Murgon and relieving in Nambour.
From Gympie, it was up to Townsville, to help bolster numbers after a shortage of police in the far north in the late-1970s and early-1980s.
He relocated to Maryborough from Townsville where he spent the next eight years before making the switch to Maroochydore in the late 1980s.
Snr Const Grant settled in Maroochydore, where he spent the next 27 years serving the community.
From relieving stints in Pomona and Kenilworth to working as a liaison officer in the District Court and then back to general duties, Snr Const Grant said he laid claim for some time to being the region's longest-service officer.
He said it was people skills, experience and doing his homework which had put him in good stead for a lengthy career as a cop, and advised young officers to invest time into their careers.
But he feels for the young generation of men and women in blue.
"The scenes are not getting any better," he said.
"The big thing is the unknown. I've had quite a few situations where the hair stands up on the back of the neck."
He's been shot at in Toowoomba in a "drug deal that went a little bit wrong" in his early days and spat at numerous times.
Snr Const Grant said respect was waning in society, and police were usually on the receiving end of it.
He said alcohol-fuelled violence had escalated and rampant ice use was creating major problems within communities.
So why did he stick at it for almost 41 years, and not try and get off the beat and into detective work or other specialised units?
"The coal face is good in the fact that all I wanted to do was become a competent general duties police officer," he said.
"General (duties), you can be lucky enough to be the first responder to a particular incident."
Some of his more memorable incidents include assisting the arresting officer on a double murder in Hervey Bay, when two people were gunned down outside the Sportsman's Club in Urangan.
Multi-night stakeouts on Maryborough drug crops, a passenger train and petrol tanker crash at a level crossing in Townsville and a cattle train de-railment in Maryborough which left prized beef cattle dead were also among the most vivid of his memories.
"It was a good experience," the 59-year-old said of his time in uniform.
A harrowing drowning of a three-year-old boy at a dam in Maryborough still brings back tragic memories, while some of the serious highway crashes over the years linger with him.
Major incidents he worked on include doing crime scene work at a Tanawha home in relation to the Gympie headless torso alleged murder case, and on the double murder of John and Olveene Kelly in 1992 (the two were killed while responding to a break-in while working as security guards).
He said a recent job where a woman had a gas bottle in a caravan and had armed herself with an aerosol and a lighter was another reminder that lethal threats could be behind any door they opened.
He thought the Queensland Police Service could do more to support its officers by reaching out and ensuring their mental health was okay.
But with all of that behind him, Snr Const Grant said he was looking to now involve himself with a few local charities, spend time with his wife Judy and his adult son and daughter.
"There is some needy people out there," the Rosemount resident said.
"I've got no immediate plans to travel at the moment."