“YOU don’t think. You just do.”
Sergeant Mark Hevers was succinct in describing his time in the firing line with the NSW Police Force, in particular, one incident in 2009.
Sergeant Hevers disregarded self-preservation in his attempts to negotiate with a suicidal male in Lucknow, in what was originally deemed a siege but later reduced to a “high-risk situation”.
Sergeant Hevers was confronted by a man holding a shortened rifle to his head and threatening to take his own life, and engaged in over an hour of one-on-one roadside negotiations, ultimately to no avail.
Yesterday Sergeant Hevers was recognised at the NSW Police Force Canobolas Local Area Command medal and award ceremony, receiving the commissioner’s commendation and medal for courage alongside colleague Sergeant Rolf Vogelsang, whose bravery was rewarded after saving five elderly residents from a house fire in Kelso in 2009.
He then fought the fire until the fire brigade arrived.
“They both thoroughly deserved to be awarded their commendations,” Canobolas Local Area Command Superintendent David Driver said.
“Mark was fantastic in the way he dealt with the situation, and cleared the area.”
“It’s very nice to be recognised,” Sergeant Hevers said.
“This commendation is very humbling, I’m honoured to receive it.”
Sergeants Hevers and Vogelsang were among dozens of officers to be recognised for courage, bravery or long service on Wednesday.
“These awards reflect great teamwork, and individual efforts,” Superintendent Driver said.
“Our officers are often put in treacherous circumstances, and they do a fantastic job. I’m very proud of everyone who was recognised today.
“Also, reaching long service milestones needs to be recognised. We don’t take longevity for granted in this profession, and 10, 20 years of service is a huge achievement.”
Member for Orange Andrew Gee was on hand for the ceremony, at the Orange Agricultural Institute, and said it was a chance to recognise Orange’s unsung heroes.
“Police have a difficult and challenging job ... and these events often don’t come under the notice of our community as police go about their work,” he said.
“This was an excellent opportunity to recognise the work of police in our community.”