• Tony Bosworth

One of the Hawkesbury’s finest leaving us for the Blue Mountains

It will be a sad day next week for many Hawkesbury residents who have come to know Chief Inspector Garry Sims APM as a true local copper, a man who gets things done and who is also always ready to pitch in and help.

Police family - Chief Inspector Sims with his daughter Emily when she graduated from Goulburn Police Academy

The Chief Inspector is the Hawkesbury Police Area Command’s Customer Service Duty Officer, a post he’s held here for six years but soon he’ll be moving to the Blue Mountains Police Area Command, with his last official Hawkesbury engagement next week when the NSW Police Band plays at Richmond Club during Seniors Festival.

It’s a move that makes sense for the senior officer who has been in the force for 35 years – he’s lived in the Mountains with his family since the 1970s - and the commute back and forth, especially after a long night shift, won’t be missed.

But Chief Inspector Sims will very much miss the Hawkesbury, its people, and even Rocky the Pig – more about Rocky a bit later...

“The community is the first thing that comes to mind,” says Chief Inspector Sims. “The people here are wonderful. Generally relaxed, considerate, polite with no airs and graces about them.

“My time in the Hawkesbury has been the most rewarding of my 35 years’ service. The people, the environment, the stunning scenery - it’s just a great package,” the Chief Inspector told the Post.

“My engagement with the community has been very special. I have been fortunate to have the geographic responsibility for the Wisemans Ferry/St Albans area and they have welcomed my wife and I like locals! Visiting places like the Central Macdonald Public School and being part of their school community reinforces to me that it is working with the community that policing is all about.

“Another memory that I will cherish is having had the opportunity of leading the annual charity drive for people of the

Hawkesbury to support the Westmead Children’s Hospital.

“Each year, I have worked with the community to collect Play Doh [see pic above] to donate to the Children’s Hospital to assist with their physio programs and recovery for their brave young patients. We now collect enough product for the hospital that they do not have to purchase any Play Doh – saving them thousands of dollars which can be spent in other much needed areas. Our drive gets bigger and better every year and brings a lot of satisfaction to many people.”

Chief Inspector Sims graduated from the police academy back in 1976 and says he’s seen the same high degree of dedication and courage from police throughout his career.

“I have worked at both Windsor and Wisemans Ferry Police Stations with wonderful junior police who are talented and dedicated. I also have had the privilege of working besides dedicated senior police who are committed to providing the best policing response to the community as they can.

“There is not a lot of difference in terms of dedication and courage from the police I started my career with in 1976 to those I work with in 2021. Apart from the fact today’s police are much better equipped with technology! No more manual typewriters for example!”

There are two areas in which the Chief Inspector has really stood out during his time at Hawkesbury PAC – community policing and mens’ advocacy groups, which he has supported and helped set-up.

Chief Inspector Sims with the organiser of the Tomorrow Man workshop at St Albans, addressing breaking male stereotyping and encouraging men to address their mental health well being.

“In the words of Sir Robert Peel - the father of modern policing – ‘the police are the community and the community are the police’. Our role is to work with the community to build a safer place to live, and that includes many areas apart from the obvious crime detection and prevention.

“Our work in the areas of Emergency Management is another vital role here in the Hawkesbury, and to me, engaging with the community, building trust, understanding and cooperation is the key to a safe, resilient community,” the Chief Inspector says.

“Community policing is the corner stone of a safer community. Community policing creates an environment of police legitimacy, where the public have the trust and confidence in police to do their job. Without this, we could not achieve the great results we get here in the Hawkesbury.

“The long commutes is basically the only reason that saw me interested in leaving. Some days involve almost a two hour trip and at this end of my career, I have to look after myself better than I do.

“I am looking forward to applying my approach to community engagement in the area that I have called home since the late 1970s and giving something back to the community that I live in, including my role as an R U OK? Community Ambassador, and the coordinator for the local Walk n Talk For Life Blue Mountains support group.

“There is a lot I will miss about the Hawkesbury though. For example, following a job at St Albans, I get regular updates on the activities of ‘Rocky the Pig’ who lives on a small farm. I really enjoyed meeting Rocky’s owners and sharing some experiences with them. It is the contact with what is uniquely Hawkesbury that I will miss. I intend to stay in touch with some of the groups and friends I have made, it is too good to let go.”

Many of us will certainly miss the police officer who has made a big difference to many locals’ lives. Our loss is the Blue Mountains’ gain but we’ve little doubt Chief Inspector Sims has truly made his mark in the Hawkesbury and will be fondly remembered.

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