Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 24 March 2011 Contents LOCAL NEWS
24 March, 2011 | Page 7
When looking back on 25 years
spent in the police, 22 of them
based in Lumsden, Jim Bottcher
has no regrets whatsoever.
"Rural policing was the ultimate in
community policing and as far as
I'm concerned... I don't think you
can get past community policing,"
But it has also taken its toll.
Years on end of being constantly
available to the community he
serves -- late night phone calls
that could bring news of anything
from noisy neighbours or stock
on a road to the grisly reality of a
fatal accident --- eventually led to
difficulty in disconnecting, winding
down and even sleeping.
"I found I would be buggered and
get into bed but couldn't sleep
because I was waiting for the
phone to ring."
That's not to say he ever resented
"The public have to have faith that
if they ring up they're going to get
you and you're going to turn up,"
he said. "I have no regrets at all."
But he was diagnosed with
depression which hit him worst
last year, forcing him to take time
off work. After six weeks off, three
of them spent in the North Island,
he was feeling better than he
had in years and knew that the
time had come to make the tough
decision to leave the career he
Mr Bottcher, who grew up in
Kimbolton, Manawatu, had spent
10 years in the army before
entering the police college in
1985. He graduated in 1986
to a posting in Invercargill. The
original plan had been to return
to a firearms officer position in
Porirua "but I was having too much
fun on the street -- never got to
He loved the variety of work,
helping people and the great
camaraderie of workmates ---
something that never changed
throughout the following 25 years.
A short time later the position
came up at Lumsden. Mr
Bottcher's wife Helen had grown
up in the Lumsden-Five Rivers
area "so I dragged her back home,
screaming, on the promise of
doing two and-a-half years and
returning to a bigger centre".
The couple already had two
children, Fiona and Carl, with Mark
later born in Lumsden. The family
had to decide whether to
stay before the kids started
school and by that time
it was an easy choice to
make. Lumsden offered
a good and supportive
community --- it was a great
place to bring up kids.
Also key to the decision to
stay was the relationship
built up with Constable
Peter Gear. A former traffic
officer, he had been based
in Lumsden for 18 months
before Mr Bottcher arrived and
they became good mates both on
and off the job. When the police
and traffic services merged, theirs
was a very easy transition.
"We had a good degree of
cooperation before integration
ever occurred," Mr Bottcher said.
Mr Gear is still based at Lumsden
so Mr Bottcher's retirement ends
an enduring partnership.
"It was almost like a divorce," Mr
Bottcher said of his decision to
leave. "In fact we've outlived a
number of marriages, including
With the kids all grown up now,
the future is an open book. The
same week Mr Bottcher decided to
retire, Mrs Bottcher was given
a redundancy notice from her
position as executive officer at
Northern Southland College. It
has given them an unexpected
opportunity to plan a long overdue
OE and, with both able to claim
ancestry visas, they're hopeful
of being able to work and travel
throughout Britain and Europe.
They plan to head off in winter.
"In the meantime I'm driving a
truck for a change of pace and
in a logbook...
and giving the
finger to police
cars I drive past,"
Mr Bottcher said,
the wry sense of
humour that has
stood him well and
will be missed.
Lumsden cop out after 22 years
Lumsden police officers Peter Gear (left) and Jim Bottcher whose 22-year
working partnership came to an end last week with Mr Bottcher's retirement --
"we've outlasted a number of marriages".
Lumsden police constable Jimm Bottcher and
his wife Helen at the retirement party thrown
for him by colleagues last week.
Lumsden police constable Jim Bottcher retired last week, his 22
years of service to the Northern Southland community marked with a
small send-off at the station, celebrated with friends and colleagues
from over the years. He talked to Kirsty Macnicol about the ups and
downs of his career.
A golf tournament will be taking
place at the Winton Golf Club on
Sunday, April 3, as a fundraiser for
The format for the event is two-
person ambrose and the cost is
$40 per team which includes a
barbecue for participants as well.
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
will be available to purchase on
and at the end of the course.
A raffle for prizes of oysters will
be running during the event, spot
prizes and a prizegiving for first,
second and third places in the
Organiser Bronwyn Campbell said
the purpose of the day, besides
fundraising, was a fun family day
out -- an event for golfers and non-
The money raised would go
towards general funds for the
school but was likely to go into
the technology sector with laptops
recently provided for student use.
Tee-off is at 1pm at the Winton
golf course on Substation Road,
with a postponement date on April
10. For more information contact
Bronwyn on (03) 221-7306.
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