Policemen recognised for efforts

Photo by Sally Brooker.
Photo by Sally Brooker.

Five North Otago policemen have received a special citation for their work in Christchurch after last year's earthquakes.

They were each given the 2011 Canterbury Earthquake Citation, a medal in Canterbury colours with four red stripes on a black background.

The official line-up at a special function at the Oamaru Police Station on Thursday afternoon was (from left) Southern District road policing manager Inspector Andrew Burns, Sergeant Peter Muldrew, Senior Constable Stew Hewett, Senior Constable Graeme McPherson, Senior Constable Stefan Witehira, of Palmerston, Senior Constable Darrin Low, of Hampden, and Southern District Police operations manager Inspector Alastair Dickie.

Insp Dickie said February 22, 2011, was one of New Zealand's darkest days. The magnitude 6.3 earthquake at 12.51pm and its immediate aftershocks killed 185 people, destroyed more than 800 buildings, and left 15,000 homes and businesses devastated.

Police responded from throughout the country and overseas, showing the strong bonds that linked them throughout the world, Inspector Dickie said.

Sworn police staff and other employees were "heroic" in coming forward to do whatever was needed, he said.

Police, the fire service and St John Ambulance were awarding the new citation to recognise the contribution their personnel made.

They faced "unique circumstances on the ground" in the "unprecedented national emergency", Inspector Dickie said.

The citation was unique and highly valued and should be worn with pride, he said.

By Sally Brooker.