The Ballarat Police department is sadly saying farewell to an often overlooked but crucial member of their team.
Bryan Nicholls, who has served at the Ballarat Police Station as Justice of the Peace (JP) for the past nine years, has worked his final day ahead of a move to Western Australia.
“I’m having some mixed emotions about leaving,” Mr Nicholls said.
“I’m certainly not going to miss the weather,” he laughed. “We've made a lot of fantastic friends here, you can't go anywhere in Ballarat without running into someone.”
Mr Nicholls has presided in Ballarat since 1995, first working as an active member of Legacy before becoming a JP.
“I did a lot of work doing pension claims for war widows. We needed a Justice of the Peace available to sign off on those documents so I put my hand up and it only expanded from there.”
The feeling of helping those in the community who needed it was Mr Nicholls’ biggest motivator.
“I think having people who come in with issues they are unsure about and pointing them in the right direction was always a great feeling.
"For an example, someone came in this morning wanting to sign an affidavit and was pretty unsure about the process. Being able to articulate to her 'this is what you have to do' and talk them through the whole process is what I want to do. By the end of the chat she was feeling a lot more relaxed and comfortable.”
Superintendent Jenny Wilson applauded the efforts of JP’s like Mr Nicholls for relieving some of the paperwork pressure put on officers, allowing them to focus on front line police work.
“I'd hate to think about the thousands of documents Brian has signed in his time here,” Superintendent Wilson laughed.
“I remember when I was working as an officer in Carton, it was our jobs to work through these documents, so having someone like Brian to take some weight off our shoulders and allow us to better serve the community is crucial.”
Superintendent Wilson also thanked Mr Nicholls for returning to community service even after coming home from the Vietnam War.
“He has provided strong leadership and friendship to his colleges. I'm thanking him not just on behalf of Victoria police but on behalf of the Ballarat community as well.”
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.