FOUR of Ararat's law enforcement officers were recognised for going above-and-beyond the line of duty during a small ceremony in late September.
The Divisional Commendations were presented to members of the Ararat and Lake Bolac Police Stations, with Senior Constable Sam McCaskill receiving three Divisional commendations.
Sergeant Shane Allgood, Constable Zach Wilson and First Constable Rachel Haugh each received one Divisional Commendation.
Ararat resident Sgt Allgood received his commendation for his tireless work with the Ararat Skate Park project.
Sgt Allgood said, "it's always good" to be acknowledged for his work.
"It's always good to be recognised," he said.
"My commendation was in relation to the Ararat SkatePark and my effort to raise money for the park.
"I was happy to get recognised for that, but at the same time the police station was very helpful in letting me attend meetings and raise money but it probably wasn't so much police related."
Sgt Allgood said his initial motivation for joining the project was his children.
"Mine (Divisional Commendation) was probably more to do with trying to do something for my kids to start with," he said.
"By the time we had finished it took a good five years to raise the amount of money we needed before we got the big grant to get it done properly."
Sgt Allgood said having the ability to help people made him want to join the police force.
"I have been working for the Police for 20 years now," he said.
"I love how there is something interesting every day, the opportunity not to be stuck behind a computer all day, to help people that's the attraction for me."'
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Lake Bolac's Snr Const McCaskill received three commendations for providing exceptional response and investigation to various police incidents and providing life-saving assistance while off duty.
Snr Const McCaskill said it "was great" to be awarded the three Divisional Commendations.
His first commendation was for organising 15 truckloads of hay to bushfire affected farmers in Eastern Victoria.
"It was for a community hay run we did for the bushfires at Orbost," he said.
"The small community and district of Lake Bolac raised approximately $150,000 worth of hay and transport. It was all donated.
"We transported all the hay down to Orbost where they were unloading our trucks straight onto the Army Helicopter to get the Hay into the little towns that were isolated"
"I basically organised it, but it was pretty much a community effort.
"We put a post up on Facebook saying did anyone want to help out in any way and we just got inundated with people wanting to help."
His second commendation was for providing medical assistance while off duty in a life or death situation.
"I was driving to work and saw an ambulance on the side of the road and I saw the ambulance offers running around it (the car) pretty frantically," he said,
"I looked in the front seat and saw a male out to it; he had a cardiac arrest.
"I just got him out of the front seat and put him on the ground and did compressions for the ambos."
Snr Const McCaskill said the 49-year-old farmer from Lake Goldsmith has thankfully made a full recovery.
"He's fit and well, he made a full recovery which is good," he said.
"I think it took three tries to get him going."
His third Divisional Commendation was for helping uncover a $37 million illegal tobacco plantation.
"The third one was for my role in the tobacco crop seizures," he said.
"It was roughly worth $38 million.
"The information from the tobacco crop all came from the community."
Snr Const McCaskill said his favourite aspect of working for Lake Bolac Police for the past seven years is the work-life balance it provides.
"I am really lucky down there (Lake Bolac), I have a really supportive community," he said.
"I have really enjoyed my time there, it provides good family life."
Const Wilson received his commendation alongside First Constable Rachel Haugh (who is no longer stationed at Ararat Police) for intercepting a car containing around 40 kilograms of cannabis.
He said the incident was a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
"The incident with the drug seizure/warrant was nothing in particular, right place at the right time mainly," Const Wilson said.
"After pulling the car over and trying to put the pieces together, things weren't adding up.
"I started to get a gut instinct that something wasn't right which led to a search which then led to the seizure of almost 40kg of cannabis and search warrant which revealed a grow house."
After graduating from the police academy in 2020, Const Wilson never thought he would be involved in drug seizures so early into the job.
"I started at the police academy in July 2019, it was something that I had always wanted to do as my dad has been in the job for 27 years," he said.
"It is a pretty significant award for me. Being a junior member at the time to have what is potentially a career-high drug seizure so early in the piece was overwhelming.
"It is also thanks to Sergeant Schatfield who put our names forward and acknowledged it was a pretty big job for us."
Const Wilson said he enjoys the unpredictability of working in the force.
"My favourite part of the job would be that it is very dynamic and no two days will be the same," he said.
"I am currently located at the Ararat Police Station as a uniform member, depending on our duties for the day it can mean doing paperwork, taking reports and calls at the counter or on the divisional van responding to jobs that get called through to the station or to 000."
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