Veteran crash investigator Nigel Housego can add a new honour to his resume – the Rotary Police Excellence Award.
The Launceston-based First Class Constable has investigated hundreds of fatal and serious crashes.
His hard work was recognised when he received the 2018 award from Rotary Tasmania, alongside Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew chief Sergeant Damian Bidgood.
A modest man, First Class Constable Housego said he was “flattered” by the award.
“It is humbling when you are recognised by members of the community for the work that you do,” he said.
“I see it more as recognition of the commitment of the members of our crash investigation team.”
First Class Constable Housego has been with Tasmania Police for more than two decades and spent more than 10 years as an investigator.
Senior Sergeant Jason Jones from Northern Road and Public Order Safety described him as a “worthy recipient”.
“First Class Constable Housego is highly regarded by both his peers and the wider judiciary as extremely motivated, thorough and a skilled crash investigator with an exceptional work ethic,” Senior Sergeant Jones said.
“He consistently goes above and beyond the requirements of his role to ensure the best outcome for both the police service and the Tasmanian community.”
Both Sergeant Bidgood and First Class Constable Housego have received official honours from Tasmania Police throughout their careers, but agreed being recognised directly by the community they work in was an even greater honour.
For Sergeant Bidgood in particular, who has worked in search and rescue for more than 24 years, the award came as a surprise.
“I wasn’t expecting it, it is definitely an honour,” he said.
The award was something his entire team should be proud of, Sergeant Bidgood said.
“In search and rescue it is a combination of police, ambulance and Rotorlift pilots, which is three organisations working well together,” he said.
“There’s also the volunteers, SES and caverneers.”
He recalled a recent cave rescue, which involved a range of search and rescue workers as well as volunteers.
“Everybody, including the helicopter, SES, ambulance and bushwalkers worked together. In my entire career I haven’t seen such a well-oiled machine.”
Beyond his love for flying, Sergeant Bidgood said saving people’s lives was the most satisfying part of the job.
“We are helping people that are in trouble, it’s very rewarding,” he said.
“Helicopter work is challenging and demanding at times, but it is very enjoyable work.”
To be considered for the Rotary Tasmania Police Excellence Award, an officer must “demonstrate excellence in a particular policing discipline, role or duty, exemplify the core departmental values of equity, integrity and accountability and ease the public’s confidence in Tasmania Police”.
Chair of the Rotary Tasmania police awards committee Glen Woolley said there had been a long list of nominees this year, but First Class Constable Housego and Sergeant Bidgood were the two standouts.
“There were a number of candidates from right around the state, it was really difficult to choose,” he said.
“Damian and Nigel were the standouts but, we couldn’t split them so this year we decided to award two people.
“They both work in such different fields and the impact their work has had on Tasmanians and making them feel safer is what made them stand out.
“With Damian working in search and rescue he has done some really heroic work and Nigel has gone and achieved qualifications outside of the policing sphere, especially in the areas of crash investigations, and has been able to put that into practice in his policing work.”
The selection committee was made up of two members from Rotary Tasmania and two from Tasmania Police.
“I think it is important to recognise police because of the work they do,” Mr Woolley said.
“Police officers do extraordinary work under extraordinary circumstances, work that some people wouldn’t be able to do.”
Next year, Rotary Tasmania plans to extend the award to all emergency service workers including Tasmania Fire Service, Ambulance Tasmania and SES Tasmania.
“We want to be able to recognise both full-time and volunteer emergency service workers,” Mr Woolley said.