No regrets after 37 years

Updated November 5 2012 - 3:04pm, first published November 8 2007 - 12:58pm
NO REGRETS: Ballarat Police Superintendent Paul Murnane retires today.
NO REGRETS: Ballarat Police Superintendent Paul Murnane retires today.

IN more than 37 years in the police force, Ballarat Police Superintendent Paul Murnane has experienced all the highs and lows.But as his career draws to a close today he says he does not regret a thing.Supt Murnane, 58, began as a police officer in Melbourne in 1970. He moved to Colac in 1973, where he and wife Marie started their family. They eventually had four children, Renita, Kieran (who is now a detective senior constable in Melbourne), Seona and Bevan.After three years in Colac, Supt Murnane decided to change direction."I enjoyed the criminal aspect of policing and concentrated particularly on that, which then held me in good stead to come back to Melbourne and join the CIB (Criminal Investigation Branch) as it was in those days," he said."I transferred back and eventually became a detective in 1977, and my first job was with the Breaking Squad. In those days their criteria was the investigation of safe breaks and large burglaries."We had pretty much a finger on most of the safe-breakers who were committing offences in those days, and you'd be able to go to a safe break-in and from the way it was cut you could virtually nominate a small number of people who would have been responsible."Supt Murnane said one of his most rewarding experiences was solving a 14-day kidnapping in the early 2000s with the Tactical Response Group."One of the most satisfying things I've ever been involved in was seeing that boy back in the arms of his mother," he said.Unfortunately there were also tough times.Supt Murnane was working with the Armed Robbery Squad the night Sergeant Gary Silk and Senior Constable Rodney Miller were murdered on duty in Moorabbin on August 16, 1998."After a very pleasant day of playing golf here in Ballarat in the afternoon, I went down and took charge of the shift that night," he said."Whilst down there the radio message came across that one policeman, Gary Silk had been shot and murdered and that Rod Miller ... we believed he'd been shot but were unable to locate him at that point in time."To have two people the calibre of those two young people murdered on your shift was an extremely stressful time for both myself and the Armed Robbery Squad."Supt Murnane's first stint in Ballarat started in 1985 as a detective sergeant.He also worked as a senior sergeant and inspector, finally returning in the top job in December 2003, replacing Supt Lindsay Florence.He said he has loved every minute of it."We came to Ballarat at the end of '85 and it was one of those cities that you just fall in love with straight away because of its history and because of the facilities that it provides for the people who live here," he said."It's just a wonderful city and it's been very good to us and I think the best part about it from my perspective is it allowed me, when I took promotion to Melbourne, to commute to work and remain living here."Supt Murnane has spent this week working with his replacement Supt Andrew Allen, who previously had the top job in Geelong.Supt Allen takes over on Monday.Supt Murnane said he would be doing a lot of travelling in retirement, and plans to drive around Australia.He said he was happy to be leaving on a high."We're achieving some great outcomes, our crime rate is experiencing a significant reduction, our road toll figures are about 35 per cent down at the moment," he said."I just want to thank all the people that I've worked with over the years - both internal and external to the police force - for their support to me."It's been fantastic, particularly the support that I have received from the police in my division and also from the community of Ballarat, which has been extraordinary."

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