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Police Association honours two officers with Bravery Awards

News from Police Association
Two Police officers who demonstrated outstanding courage have each been honoured with the Police Association’s Bravery Award at the 82nd NZPA annual conference in Wellington.

Constable Darren Critchley and Senior Constable Ross Andrew, nominated by their peers, were presented with their awards by Rugby great, Sir Brian Lochore, a former award evaluation panel member.

Association President Chris Cahill says both officers are fine examples of having the capacity to make immediate, and as it turns out, heroic decisions, when the mundane turned quickly into the dangerously serious.

“The officers not only displayed quick thinking, but extraordinary courage to put their lives at risk to rescue others,” Mr Cahill said.

On July 8, 2016, Senior Constable Ross Andrew (retired) came across a serious crash when he was driving through the Manawatu River gorge. A large truck and trailer unit had careened through a barrier and came to rest, partly submerged, 50 metres down the gorge. Senior Constable Andrew picked his way down the steep ravine in driving winds and rain using a rope provided by a member of the public. He waded through the swift and rising water to the partly crushed cab and helped the woman passenger to the shore, giving her his protective vest for warmth. He returned to the cab, extracted the seriously injured driver onto the top of the cab and, aware hypothermia was setting in, lay next to the driver to shelter him from the relentless freezing mid-winter winds until a rescue helicopter arrived an hour later.

On December 14, 2016, Constable Darren Critchley, a highway patrol officer, had finished work and had picked up his son from school when he heard an alert on the radio that several people were in trouble in the water at the Hukatere end of Ninety Mile Beach. Constable Critchley knew how dangerous the sea was, but repeatedly placed himself at risk in his rescue efforts. The male tourist was at the point of disappearing under the water when Constable Critchley reached him. He brought him back to shore and immediately re-entered the perilous water to try and find the woman. When he did he could see she was drowned so he lifted her on to the surf board, gave her mouth-to-mouth in hope the paramedics would be able to save her. Unfortunately they could not and Constable Critchley had to break the terrible news to her distraught friends.

“Even from such brief descriptions of harrowing experiences, I believe it is very clear that not only did they place themselves in serious danger once, in each case they went back in to find the second person,” Mr Cahill said.

“To be awarded the Association’s Bravery Award is the highest honour we can bestow on our members, and I am tremendously proud to be associated with two officers who performed so outstandingly.”

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