Helidon Sergeant to retire after 41 years

After 41 years with the Queensland Police Service, Helidon police officer-in-charge Sergeant Howard Glass is set to hang up his uniform and retire.
After 41 years with the Queensland Police Service, Helidon police officer-in-charge Sergeant Howard Glass is set to hang up his uniform and retire. Amy Lyne

AFTER 41 years on the frontline, retiring Sergeant Howard Glass has seen it all.

Sgt Glass has spent the past 26 years as officer-in-charge of the Helidon police station and will retire from the force on November 3, although he admits he never had any plans of becoming a police officer.

"I was working in an organisation before this and one of my work colleagues was mad about joining and he would always change his mind - one day he was going to and the next day he wasn't," Sgt Glass said.

"I had enough of it and I told him 'okay, today we are going down, we are going to go down to the headquarters, we are going to the recruitment people and we will get you signed up'.

"So we both went down during our lunch hour and he signed up and the big sergeant behind the desk said 'what about you' and I thought, well, I was in a fairly mundane sort of a job so I said might as well and that was 41 years ago."

Sgt Glass entered the police academy in October 1973 and was officially sworn into the force in February 1974.

"My first posting was Mt Isa. I had four years out there, met my wife there, I really enjoyed it," he said.

Sgt Glass said that after his time at Mt Isa he was posted to Boulia, south of Mt Isa, and then Einasleigh, which was his first time as an officer-in-charge at the one-man station.

After that he travelled to Ingham, where he had two of his three children, then Thargomindah before arriving at the Helidon station in 1988.

"We never planned to spend all that time here but it is a good town to raise children, a good town for schooling, and sporting interests were close so we just kept hanging around," Sgt Glass said.

Sgt Glass said one of the biggest investigations he had been involved in was the discovery of a torso in the Lockyer Creek at Helidon in 2001.

The torso was that of Toowoomba man 22-year-old Nicholas James Moore. The man accused of his murder, Mark Ferguson, died of a drug overdose just days after being released on Supreme Court bail.

"I was the first person it was reported to and I remember it was a Saturday morning and I was just loading my family into the car to take them up to hockey," he said.

"This fellow walked through the gate with his dog and said he thought there was a body in the creek.

"I said to my wife, 'take the kids up and I will be there in a few minutes, it will be carcass or something'.

"And I don't think I saw her for about two days. It ended up being a torso and there was some very good police work done on that."

Sgt Glass also remembered a car chase he was involved in that took him all the way to Rosewood.

"One night we had a call from the servo at Withcott to say there was a stolen car headed this way," he said.

"I jumped out of bed and got on a pair of overalls and got in the car, and by the time I got off the bypass the car was right in front of me.

"We ended up in a long police chase - in those days we were allowed to do it - to Rosewood, where we both came to a bit of grief. He smashed into my car."

Sgt Glass said that during his time at Helidon he had also seen many natural disasters.

"As well as the 2011 floods there have been several instances of extremely serious and damaging fire through this area that resulted in many areas being evacuated, some even by force after an emergency declaration was declared," he said.

"They can be as devastating as floods at times."

While it was never his plan to become a police officer, Sgt Glass said he had never thought of leaving since the day he joined. "I think it just grows on you," he said.

"It is just something you want to get up (for) and you want to go to work.

"I can honestly say I really haven't not enjoyed much of it; I mean, I have not enjoyed the tragedy that's around you all the time.

"But you get on and do your job and I think the more professionally you do your job, I think it is easier for the family to be able to cope with what has happened."

Sgt Glass said he had spent more than 30 years either working alone or in two-officer stations.

"Police really do rely on their interaction with the community to be able to gather information about certain activities around an area and it probably happens more in a small town," he said.

"That is why I have enjoyed small-town policing: you get to interact with the public a lot more and part of the benefits of that is you end up with more information and people have more trust."

Topics:  helidon queensland police service retire

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