During a recent family road trip I decided to stop at Narromine Police Station to take some photos of my grandchildren, the same place I had taken photos of their mother when she was a girl when I was the lock up keeper there in the late 80’s.
On my arrival in broad daylight, I parked my vehicle across from the station. I brazenly but carefully, looking left and right, walked across the road with my grandchildren and armed with my camera. I discovered that my former residence was now the police station. With grandchildren in tow and son in law following (I admit he has always looked dodgy to me but that’s a father in laws privilege) I walked, with obvious intent, around to the front door to find it locked.
It had been my intention to make my nefarious intentions known to the officers on duty, but with the door locked I thought they must be busy. From the number of people waiting in front of the nearby courthouse I assumed it was a court day. Forgetting to disguise myself or my grandchildren, I started taking photos under the watchful eyes of station security cameras. As we were leaving a door opened on the side of the station and a female plain clothes officer asked what I was doing. In a non-threatening manner I stated I had previously been stationed there and was taking photographs of my grandchildren.
I was then asked for identification. When handing it over the lecture started. You see whenever a Police Officer starts speaking with “You need to understand”; you know it’s a lecture. I was told that nowadays, with the ever present threat of terrorism it was a different world. Or so I needed to understand. After checking my credentials on their computer, the lecture continued: “I had to understand, Things had changed,” since I had been involved with policing, back in the day. I pointed out the station was a publicly listed building of the kind being photographed all over the country every day.
I was again reminded that the world had changed significantly since my day. This was fortunate as it reminded me of my advanced age and I hadn’t taken my medication that morning. I elected not to reach for it from my pocket for fear of a tactical response. At some point the penny dropped with the second of the officers who realised that although I’d left NSW many years ago, I’d gone elsewhere and continued policing, not gone off into a hermits cave as was being intimated.
To the officers concerned there are 31,800 references to Narromine Police Station on Dr Google. Within those I found at least a dozen photos of the station. They just don’t feature my grandchildren in them. While taking the walk of shame back to my vehicle (very slowly due to my advanced age) my grandson said. “Why were they so cranky granddad?, “I think they’re just having a bad day mate.” You are right, the world has changed. In my day serving officers gave retired officers a little respect.