THE Wimmera’s new police inspector Paul Bertoncello hopes to foster a strong relationship with the community across the region.
The police officer has started in his new role as the Northern Grampians inspector, based in Ararat.
The Northern Grampians police service areas covers Ararat, Yarriambiack and Northern Grampians municipalities.
Inspector Bertoncello said he had been in the police force for almost 20 years, working in many different departments across the state.
“I started out as a uniformed member at Sunbury, and then I worked my way towards becoming a detective, which was something I was very passionate about,” he said.
Mr Bertoncello has worked in many different divisions, including the criminal investigation unit, the sex crimes squad and the arson and explosion squad.
He moved to the arson and explosion squad just before Black Saturday and was one of the lead investigators on the Churchill fire, which killed 11 people.
“I was then promoted to sergeant of the transit safety division and then I worked in corporate areas in Melbourne, before being appointed the inspector roll,” he said
Mr Bertoncello said he was looking forward to his new role in the Wimmera.
“I was really lucky to get the opportunity to work in the roll for about four or five months earlier in the year – I really enjoyed it,” he said,
“I like the nature of policing in a rural environment – officers have to work so closely as a team, from the constable driving the van to the superintendent, we are all one group of people trying to achieve the best outcomes for the community.”
Mr Bertoncello said he wanted to foster good engagement between police and the community.
“We are so remote and we have about 90 police to cover a massive area, so you can’t work without good engagement,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to building on that relationships and improving communication with the community.
“The region is a relatively safe place to live and work, and I want to make sure people feel that way.”
Mr Bertoncello said he enjoyed helping people.
“It sounds really simple but I think most police officers join the job for that reason,” he said.
“Sometimes we lose focus of that, but at the end of the day, we are here to help.
“My role within the organisation now will be to help the community and also help my own officers with what they want to achieve.
“I want everyone to feel really proud of the efforts they put into the community.”