By Mick Jensen
Ashburton’s new top policeman has a 25-year career in the force behind him, most recently as a highway patrol manager.
Senior Sergeant Phil Dean is now in his third week of the job and finding his feet and getting a better understanding of the issues in Mid Canterbury.
He is in charge of a staff of 25, including a policeman in Rakaia and two more in Methven.
Although not directly overseeing the work of a team of Ashburton detectives, he will liaise and co-operate with them closely.
Senior Sergeant Dean said a key part of his role was looking at the public confidence in policing and responding to roading policies.
The police actively targeted people driving without restraints, those who were affected by drugs and alcohol, others distracted by cellphones and those speeding.
He reported directly to Canterbury rural area commander Inspector Dave Gaskin and for serious crimes would work in co-operation with both the Timaru and Christchurch police.
Senior Sergeant Dean said he had already been “impressed with the professionalism” of his new staff, a few of whom had crossed his path before.
“I’ve given myself a three-month timeframe to meet with various tiers of the community to fully understand the concerns here and what is happening in Ashburton.” he said.
That process had begun with meeting representatives from a range of agencies and peer groups, and would continue with discussions with community groups and the general public.