ACT police officers gathered in a guard of honour on Benjamin Way in Belconnen, a part of Canberra that Sergeant Andy Warry policed through much of his career, to bid farewell to one of the force's originals on Friday.
Forbidden by COVID-19 restrictions to turn out in number at his funeral, instead his fellow officers paid tribute in their time-honoured tradition after Sergeant Warry passed away last week.
Standing 1.5 metres apart, many in full dress uniform, ACT police saluted as the procession rolled past Belconnen station.
Sergeant Warry was given badge number 1181 when he joined as a recruit to the Commonwealth Police on September 12, 1977.
He was part of the very first Australian Federal Police course at the Barton College, one of 79 officers to be trained at the former Lawley House, originally a hostel for public servants.
In a retrospective compiled to mark 100 years of policing in the ACT, Sergeant Warry recalled his very first day as a ACT officer working in Canberra.
"I got in the car with Sergeant Bob Smith - a great bloke - and he told me 'get in the car, son, don't do this, don't do that, do as you're told'," he said.
"I think we went to seven brawls that first night up at the old Dickson Hotel, which is now gone."
It was a rough and ready introduction to his police career in the ACT but was guided along the way by "old-school coppers" who used the old-fashioned hands-on approach to manhandle hooligans and criminals into the back of the old Ford F150 "paddy wagons" and frogmarch them off to the cells to cool down.
"General duties was a final and noble career and I probably spent around 20 years in that role," he said.
A giant bear of a man with a soft voice and calm, genial manner, Sergeant Warry worked for much of his career out of the old Belconnen station, which previously adjoined the former Remand Centre on Lathlain Street until the new station was built and opened in March, 2012.
He was a staff officer, headed up a drug investigations team out of Belconnen and worked in police communications.
One of his many roles was running the Regional Traffic Team in 1997 and later a dedicated team using vehicle-mounted automated number plate recognition to sweep Canberra's roads for unregistered and uninsured vehicles.
"We had six members and three dedicated cars with computer systems and were given an open brief to reduce the big problem of unregistered and uninsured vehicles on the roads, and unlicensed drivers," he said.
"Not because of that directly, but not long after we achieved the lowest road toll in the ACT since 1953."
But the role which endeared him to so many within the ACT police was that of a welfare officer. His quiet, reassuring manner, easy laugh and vast general duties experience was a significant asset when called to provide welfare and emotional support for troubled officers who had to attend harrowing road accidents and crime scenes.
It's an old-fashioned style of welfare support which has served the ACT well.