Cobar’s top cop calls it a day after 33 years of service

After 33 years of service to the NSW Police Force, Sergeant John Bennett has chosen to make a career change. Sergeant Bennett (second from right) is pictured above with work mates Senior Constable Jo Palma, Constable Ryan Chillingworth and Senior Constable Christy Greshner on his final shift.

After 33 years serving with the NSW Police Force, Sergeant John Bennett has decided it’s time for a career change.

The much respected police officer, who’s been the boss at the Cobar Police Station for the past 17 years, worked his final shift last week.

However John is not taking a break in between jobs and has already started in his new career working locally in the mining industry.

“I had the opportunity to make a change and I thought I would,” John told The Cobar Weekly.

He said while at first it had been a bit of a tough decision to make, he’s now looking forward to going in a new direction.

“It was a personal choice and will be a change of lifestyle for me.

“It will be good to have less stress.”

He said there were a few aspects in his role as a police officer that he never liked.

“One was attending serious accidents where people have lost their lives and having to make that dreaded knock on the door to inform someone that their loved one, their partner, or their children have passed away and is not coming back.

“I’ve done a few of those,” John said.

He said his new work roster (seven days on/seven off) will allow him to be able to spend more time with his family and he may even get out a bit more.

He also intends to continue with his sideline business, his City Country Driving School, which he sees as an important service to the community.

While John has spent the majority of his 33 years of police service in the western region, his first posting in 1985 was at North Sydney.

“From there I went to Newcastle Police Station; then to Charlestown; then out to Catherine Hill Bay; I did seven years at Mungindi; then went out to Wilcannia for two and a half years.

“That was before I applied for the position in Cobar.”

John said he’s very much enjoyed living and working in Cobar.

“Cobar is an excellent town, its people are friendly, and pro police.

“It’s a good community and people help each other out.

“Cobar has a lot going for it, some people will disagree, but I think it’s a good place to bring up your family.”

John said he’s been lucky to have worked with a lot of good staff in his 17 years based at Cobar.

“The staff turns around about every four to five years: some stay a little bit longer, some don’t.

“It all depends upon their lifestyles and their family circumstances and commitments as to how long they stay,” he said.

John said when locals heard he was retiring, he’s received a lot of messages of thanks and support.

“I really appreciate their comments,” John said.