The NSW Police Force looked at from two perspectives
Where one career ends, another is just starting to take off. We looked at two interesting perspectives of the NSW Police Force by having a talk with recently retired LAC Commander Ben Feszczuk and the still quite new into the Force, Constable Krystle Toth.
LAC Commander Ben Feszczuk
Congratulations on your retirement, and your 45 years of dedicated service to the NSW Police. When and how did you get into the Police Force?
I left school in 1965 and commenced a course in accounting. After 2 years I came to the realisation that accounting was not for me. I knew a couple of school mates who joined NSWPF and I thought I would give it a go. So having gone through the recruiting process, I fronted at the Police Training Centre at Redfern on 19 February 1968 and commenced initial training. I was Attested a Probationary Constable on 1 April 1968.
What was the journey like making your way up to Superintendent of the Penrith LAC?
The job is unique – an adventure for a young man from Penrith! It was very interesting and challenging but equally very rewarding. I attempted all promotional examinations at the first available opportunity. Then the goal posts changed and we went to a merit based approach. The rest is history.
Which departments have you worked in? Which did you enjoy the most?
My career had three phases; general duties, criminal investigation and for the past 15 years at a Local Area Command (Campbelltown 1998-2003 and Penrith from 2003 until my retirement on 19 August 2013). I enjoyed all of those roles but in particular criminal investigation and Commander roles.
How has policing changed since you first joined the force?
I think the greatest change since 1968 has been the significant introduction of technologies. Policing has become increasingly more complex. General Duties police are now expected to perform a raft of duties previously within the realm of Detectives.
What aspect of policing do you think will change the most in the next 10 years?
I can only speculate. Some current challenges relate to cyber crime, organised crime and counter terrorism. Hence, the organisation has and will continue to reinvent itself to meeting those and new challenges head on.
What has been the highlight of your career?
Working with other members of NSWPF and the community to resolve problems. I will always fondly remember my 23 years as a Detective being involved in numerous investigations some of which were quite challenging. My fifteen years as a Local Area Commander have also been rewarding in leading a multi disciplined group of men and women who provide local policing services.
What will you miss most about your time in the Police Force?
Not having a place to go and interact with police each day and exercising ones knowledge and experience in problem solving. It has been difficult to let go.
Do you have any tips for those wishing to follow in your footsteps?
Be diligent and ethical. Seek knowledge and experience and become competent. Do your very best. Play with a “straight bat”. One’s reputation in NSWPF is everything.
Constable Krystle Toth
We farewelled you back in 2010 when you just made the switch from working at Police Credit Union, to joining the NSW Police Force. Could you tell us why you went into policing?
I had always wanted to join the Police Force. I wanted to help the community in some way. The Police Force offers an opportunity to develop a great career.
What department are you working in now?
General Duties. This involves a variety of things such as investigating thefts, assaults, missing persons, frauds and the list goes on. We do other things such as foot patrols, crowd control etc.
Which areas/departments have you worked in over the past 3 years?
Mainly general duties. I think it’s a good idea to get your experience and grounding in the front line of policing for the first few years to provide the opportunity to advance.
Which department would you like to work in?
I’d love to work with my own drug detection dog, or as a Youth Liaison officer or possibly even with the PCYC.
Where do you see yourself living in 10 years?
As much as I love the Sydney City I will eventually come back to Newcastle. I’ll always be a Novocastrian through and through.
How has your role changed since you first started as a Police Officer?
Even though I have learnt a lot, I know I have so much more to learn about different policing aspects. I’ve had the opportunity to do many courses. For example I’m now a field training assessing officer which means I am training Probationary Constables. It’s exciting to have that experience and I absolutely love it! It’s really crazy to think that only 3 years ago I was a probationary constable myself, I feel I’ve come a long way in a short time.
What has been the most surprising thing for you working as a Police Officer?
The NSW Police Force is such a close group and it’s really quite comforting to have that support. I have made so many friends in the Force. I didn’t realise how blessed I would feel to be part of a special ‘family’. I was told before I joined by other Police friends that there is a lot of paperwork and all I can say is they were not wrong!
What aspect of policing do you think will be the major focus in the next 10 years?
I think the Force’s key focus will always be to strive to lower crime in the community. We try and achieve this in many ways. For example by being tasked to certain areas between certain times for high visibility in order to deter and lower crime. We have operations in place on Friday and Saturday nights with more Police tasked to walk around the Sydney CBD. We strive to reduce fear in the community and to protect people and property. This is an ongoing objective of ours.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Helping people and trying to make a difference in a positive way. Every day I come into work with a smile ready for what the day brings ahead, no 2 days are the same.
Any funny or unusual moments on the job you can share?
There are plenty but none that beats when about 3 years ago I opted for a big milkshake instead of water and straight after finishing it I got into a foot pursuit. Not a great feeling!