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Senior Sergeant Kennedy retires from SAPOL

Senior Sergeant Kennedy retires from SAPOL

One of the Barossa’s most recognised police officers, Senior Sergeant Martin Kennedy, has left his spot as Officer in Charge at Nuriootpa and is on leave prior to retiring next financial year.

Retiring from SAPOL for the same reason he finished umpiring football, Snr Sgt. Kennedy says his body told him it’s time to retire.  

“I want to travel more whilst still fit and able enough to do so,” he said.

Snr Sgt. Kennedy has been Officer in Charge at Nuriootpa for the past 15 years, and been with SAPOL for 42 years.

Snr Sgt. Kennedy explained that he became a police officer as some of his friends talked him into joining, and he only planned on taking up this role until ‘something better’ came along – but SAPOL became his calling. 

“You just have to be a good listener – then treat them as you would like to be treated,” said Snr Sgt. Kennedy.

Throughout his time at Barossa-Yorke (now Barossa) LSA, Snr Sgt. Kennedy has been heavily involved with the Barossa Domestic Violence Action Group for the entire 15 years, and also represented SAPOL at the Local Mental Health Liaison Group, Barossa Road Safety Committee, Zone Emergency Centre Committee and other groups.  

When he first began at Nuriootpa, the Barossa had the lowest crime figures in the state, while having the highest fatality and casualty crash rate of any LSA.

From the start, Snr Sgt. Kennedy encouraged all police officers to become a dedicated traffic officer for at least half of every shift because whilst crime was low, casualties and fatalities from car collisions were having a big impact on the community, and needed to decrease.

The introduction of mobile radar, reduction of speed limits across the Valley floor and Police officers stopping more cars resulted in fatality and casualty crash rate dropping significantly lower than it was.

Throughout this time, Snr Sgt. Kennedy believes that this truly is his biggest achievement in the Barossa – saving lives.

Snr Sgt. Kennedy has attended some horrific scenes and countless fatal collisions during his journey with SAPOL.  

“The collisions themselves you get used to – it’s advising the family afterwards that is really hard,” said Snr Sgt. Kennedy.  

The toughest of these was in Gawler in the 80’s. He attended the double fatal where two brothers were killed on a rural road in the early hours of the morning. 

Snr Sgt. Kennedy’s partner went with the two deceased to the hospital, while he went to their home with an ambulance officer around 3 a.m.  

“The mother was up waiting for us and her first question to me was ‘Which one?” said Snr Sgt. Kennedy.  

“A tough question for me but far harder for her as she had lost her only two children, both her teenage sons, at the same time.”

For the full story see this week’s edition of The Leader.