Searching for top Mountains cop

About 400 people walk through a Mountains newsagent every day and Blue Mountains police officers hope shoppers will pick up a “wanted” poster to vote for the best Mountains cop while sauntering through the aisles of magazines and cards. Either that, or they vote for the top cop at any police station.

Last year’s inaugural Blue Mountains Police Officer of the Year award was won by Springwood-based Senior Constable Melissa Rosevear, who was nominated after assisting at police-run movie nights. More than a dozen finalists were selected from a pool of 30 officers nominated by the community for the award in 2012, with a peer award also given to Detective John Fasano.

Snr Cst Rosevear, now a 10-year veteran of the force, said “from time to time the job has challenges, but the community are fantastic here as well as the support they give to the police,” adding “I was very lucky to win, it was a nice surprise.”

The state award was taken out by an undercover detective working on overseas drug cartels, who beat more than 400 nominees.

“Mel was in good company,” said Rotarian and former police officer John Wakefield.

One of the original founders of the Police Officer of the Year program, Lower Blue Mountains Rotarian Frank Kelly, who was involved with the award at its Sydney inception in 1992, was one of many who gathered for a photo shoot for the Gazette, to launch the award for services during 2013. Police expect many nominations will come from acts of courage during the October bushfires.

Rotary runs the awards to acknowledge “outstanding acts of courage, compassion, understanding or devotion to duty,” Mr Wakefield said. All six Mountain clubs are involved  — Blackheath, Katoomba, Upper Blue Mountains Sunrise, Central Blue Mountains, Springwood and Lower Blue Mountains —and police will again vote for their own award winner, he said.

Acting Supintendant Ken Schack-Evans, said the peer review “tries to recognise the work the public doesn’t see ... lengthy work that happens over an extended period of time”.

Supt Schack-Evans said today’s police faced numerous challenges and “so many competing interests in terms of [the] amount of knowledge they need to progress, with technology evolving ... things we didn’t have to contend with years ago”.

Inspector Peter Scheinflug, who marked 30 years in the force on Monday, recommended policing as a great calling.

“Policing is one of the few things you can still call a career.”

Nominations for Police Officer of the Year for services in 2013 are open until February 14, with finalists announced at a presentation night on March 26. The state winner will be selected in November.

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