Top police officer off to Brisbane

IN years to come, Dale Weightman will only have to look as far as his bar for a reminder of his days as a cop in the beef capital.

Taking pride of place in the room will be a set of mounted testicles from one of Rockhampton's iconic bull statues.

Inscribed on them are the words: "From your District colleagues and staff at Rockhampton, hope you had a ball.''

On Friday, Dale will close the door on a five-year career as an inspector with the Rockhampton police.

And while his colleagues have already presented him with a farewell gift (obtained legally he added), you can be assured there is more to come ? as I found out yesterday.

I hadn't even had time to ask my first question of Dale when some good-hearted jeering came from outside.

"It's just their way of letting you know that you're going to be missed I guess,'' Dale said.

He went on to explain that in this line of work, which could be emotionally and physically demanding at times, it was good to have a laugh with workmates every now and again.

"It is part of the culture. And it's important, especially when you consider the recent loss of three colleagues.''

Speaking about the loss of fellow officers reminded Dale of his first week on the job in Rockhampton, in July, 2000.

Senior Constable Norm Watt, 33, was shot dead during a domestic violence callout at an Alton Downs property, west of Rockhampton.

"It really affected the staff here,'' Dale said.

"He was a really popular lad. It wasn't an ideal time to be the new boy in town because nobody really cared.''

Later that week, five people ? two paramedics, a woman and her son, and the pilot ? were killed after the Capricorn rescue helicopter crashed while trying to land in heavy fog near Marlborough.

"I'll never forget driving to work that morning in the fog.

It was really eerie and I remember thinking 'I hope this is not an omen about me coming to Rocky'.''

When Dale arrived at work he learned of the crash and was sent to the scene.

A police officer of 29 years, Dale has been transferred to the State Crime Office in Brisbane.

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