SAVING a two-year-old girl from the clutches of heartless and cruel parents ranks as one of the strongest memories for retiring Maryborough police sergeant George Pope.
Sgt Pope was just a young detective working on the Gold Coast when he was assigned to investigate reports that a young child had been beaten by her parents, hitting her that hard that they'd broken her pelvis.
The memory of seeing those marks on the child has never left him, nor has the realisation that it was his evidence that forced the parents to relinquish their child, allowing her to go to a loving and caring family.
"I suppose she would be 30 years old now. It was comforting to know that I could change her life," George said.
It's doubtful the well-liked Maryborough sergeant will speak of that memory when he is farewelled by more than 150 colleagues and friends in Maryborough tonight.
Instead he'll no doubt reflect on a career that has taken him from Brisbane to the Woorabinda Aboriginal Community, to the Gold Coast, out to Roma and through to Maryborough.
He'll probably note some of the more interesting court cases he battled on the Fraser Coast during his eight years as the local police prosecutor, and in a more sombre moment he might reveal the pressures he felt every time he walked up to a front door to tell a mother her child had died in an accident.
Through 36 years in the uniform, there hasn't been much George Pope hasn't done.
"I have worked in every corner of the Maryborough police station and through it all I have always enjoyed my job," he said.
"I wouldn't change a thing if I could go back to 1975. I wanted to be a policeman then and I have no regrets."
The future will see him explore Australia, do more fishing, watch over his grown-up daughters and maybe learn how to play golf.
He admits that at the moment he is not even good enough to call himself a hacker.
"They say I am a novice hacker and maybe that's even overstating my ability, because it takes me 20 golf balls to play nine holes."
There is no doubt the Fraser Coast will miss this likeable police sergeant, a man who dedicated his life to making our streets safer.
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