Covering almost 75 per cent of the state, Western Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Brett Greentree says taking on the role is a "dream come true".
"I'm western region, New England born and bred, so its nice to get back to the region after being away for the last 10 or so years," he said.
Assistant Commissioner Greentree began his career with the NSW Police in 1995.
Originally from Inverell, he began work in Sydney, before he moved to Moree where he became a detective and over the years worked across the state - including at Inverell, Tingha, Tweed Heads, Tamworth, Bourke and Maitland.
He also spent time as a staff officer in the NSW Police Commissioner's office in Sydney, and has been commander of the Lake Macquarie, Newcastle and Brisbane Water police districts.
Taking over the role this week, Assistant Commissioner Greentree says he has "big shoes to fill".
"I'm taking over from someone I just really respect and admire, Geoff McKechnie. He's been a wonderful friend of mine, and a really fantastic mentor," he said.
"He has set this region up over the last 10 years to be the, I think, superior regional policing command in the state. So big shoes to fill, but really keen for the challenge."
So far the Western Region commander has been out to Wilcannia to support the community who were battling with the COVID-19 outbreak.
"It really re-energised me, going to a police station and just speaking to the cops on the ground," he said.
"Not only the passion they have for what they do, but the passion for the communities that they live in. I took a lot from that."
And as the region begins to open up, the Assistant Commissioner said one of his main priorities would be helping the west move forward post-COVID.
"My job will be to move us forward, out of the response phase into the recovery. What does it look like post COVID? The police have been working very well with our health partners and other government agencies.
I do think particularly out here regional roads is something we need to be very mindful of too, with the amount of deaths. What we can do working with traffic and highway patrol is really important.Assistant Commissioner Brett Greentree
"We're still going to tread carefully, but we know when we hit 70 per cent and 80 per cent vaccination rates there's going to be an opening up, and what that looks like will be something we need to look at with our partners as to what communities need more assistance. How much input will the police need in that community? How much support will we need to give health? All those sorts of questions we need to answer in the next few weeks as we get closer to those target rates."
He said so far the emergency management committee had done an incredible job at working together to get on top of the virus.
"I think there's been some challenges along the way, there's no doubt about that because there's no play book on this, there's no instructions on how to deal with a pandemic you can read about them, but they don't happen all the time, thank goodness," he said.
"On a whole, the emergency services led by the emergency management committee has done a really good job in working together with the Australian Defence Force, Health, AUSMAT teams, vaccinations.
"The Stay at Home operation has been very successful, and we saw that with the limited movement.
"There were a lot of infringements issued, but the limited movement across the board, which helped stop the spared of the COVID virus so that's been a real plus as well."
Also on his radar, Assistant Commissioner Greentree said he had a strong focus on building trust and legitimacy in the community and with partners, crime reduction across the region and regional road safety.
"Building trust with the community. I think we do that really well, but it's important we continue to do that, and that involves that civic leadership, making sure you're visible and really leading in the community, not just in the cops," he said.
"I also think we also need to always look at reducing crime but in order to do that, its about working with the community, working with our partners.
"And I do think particularly out here regional roads is something we need to be very mindful of too, with the amount of deaths. What we can do working with traffic and highway patrol is really important."
However overall, Assistant Commissioner Greentree said he couldn't wait to travel about the region.
"One of my plans will be to certainly get out as much as I can, not only to visit the police, but those key community members, the mayors, councillors, key business leaders who have led the way right throughout the pandemic," he said.
"There's some places in the western region I haven't been, so I'm also looking forward to going to those locations as well."
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