‘First class’ police honour

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‘First class’ police honour

Commitment to the community and a distinguished 35-year police career have earned Senior Sergeant First Class Rick Errington the coveted Australian Police Medal (APM).

The accolade for the officer in charge of Millicent police was announced yesterday (Monday) as a part of the King’s Birthday Honours.

He now shares the APM honour with retired Millicent police sergeants Peter Brown and Steve Chapple.

The official citation notes Sgt Errington is an active community member and an accomplished and highly respected police manager.

“Sgt Errington is held in high regard for his leadership and dedication to road safety, crime prevention and the enhancement of community collaboration,” the citation stated.

He has witnessed many tragedies during his police service such as the aftermath of road accidents, fires and suicides.

A modest Sgt Errington has told The SE Voice his motivation for a long police career.

“It might sound corny but I like helping people,” he said.

“I was raised on the family’s almond orchard at Willunga.

“After finishing secondary school in Adelaide, I spent a year training as a nurse.

“I then joined SAPOL and spent 12 months living at the Fort Largs Police Academy.

“After graduating at the age of 21 in 1990, my first posting was on general patrols at Christies Beach and this lasted three years.

“This was tough having lived a sheltered life growing up on a farm.

“The rest of my career has been spent in rural stations at

Aldinga, Willunga, McLaren Vale, Kangaroo Island, Port Wakefield, Port Lincoln and Port Augusta.

“We came to Millicent in 2011 and this will be my last posting.

“I have seen much of the State where there have been opportunities for fishing, surfing and diving.

“Joining me at my postings have been my wife Michelle and our sons Tom and Jack.”

The official citation highlighted his commitment to policing in the wake of tragic events in 2014.

“After identifying the death toll on the water along the Limestone Coast exceeded the lives lost on the roads, Sgt Errington created and implemented Operation TEXAS,” stated the official citation.

“His drive has seen the ongoing operation substantially impact water safety compliance, reduce deaths on the water and establish strong, collaborative inter-agency relationships.

“Also in 2014, he commanded two significant critical incident responses – a quadruple fatal crash at Hatherleigh involving multiple vehicles, and eight days later an emergency services crash involving CFS personnel known to him.

“Faced with multiple traumatic exposures Sgt Errington displays resilience and leads by example, incorporating his lived experience into his management style.

“He also plays a significant role in the community as a long-standing committee member of the Wattle Range Suicide Prevention Network and involvement with the Millicent Men’s Shed, Millicent United Soccer Club, Millicent Kyokushin martial arts academy and the Beachport Surf Lifesaving Club.”

The Erringtons have no intention of leaving Millicent and have engaged a local builder to construct a house.

“We have moved around a lot and Michelle is happy here and made a lot of friends,” Sgt Errington said.

“Millicent is friendly and very accepting of newcomers.

“You are judged on your personality and commitment to the community.

“There is a blue-collar aspect to Millicent as well as the farming and fishing sectors and I like that feel.

“I am a self-taught wood-worker and I make weekly visits to the Millicent Men’s Shed.

“I do not make many things nowadays but I like to support and check-in at the Men’s Shed.

“It is a way of connecting isolated people.

“Encouraging conversations and good mental health are priorities of mine.

“I believe police can directly make a difference in small communities by making their towns safe.”

Sgt Errington will be invested with his APM at a ceremony at Government House in the coming months.

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