EMERGENCY response services in the Chifley Police District have been boosted by the allocation of two permanent officers to the rescue unit, with further resources including a $600,000 specialised rescue truck coming later in the year.
Chief Inspector Brenton Charlton, from Police Rescue NSW, said the appointments were part of a state-wide consolidation which places all rescue personnel under the Rescue and Bomb Disposal Unit.
Subsequently there have been additional full-time positions allocated by NSW Police with Chifley picking up two permanent officers.
Chief Inspector Charlton said in the first round, Chifley has received a full-time sergeant and full-time constable, who are supported by a further eight part-time rescue operators who work on a 24/7, 365 days a year basis.
He said before the allocation, all officers were part-time rescue officers who were either on shift or on call, but said the permanent positions were additional resources which will enhance the ability of police to respond to an emergency callout.
With the State last week facing its worst flooding crisis in decades, Chief Inspector Charlton said all rescue units had been incredibly busy, with Bathurst staff among those utilised in responses.
Last week members of Police Rescue were involved in swift water rescue, flood evacuation and recognizance.
"Remember in addition to rescue, we still carry out law enforcement role, we're still police," he said.
Chief Inspector Charlton said rescue officers attached to Chifley will be carrying out the full spectrum of rescue work, everything from general land rescue, road crash rescue, vertical rescue SAR (search and rescue) and bomb response, as well as providing full operational support to NSW Police for emergency management, law enforcement and counter terrorism.
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Not surprisingly, given the physical and mental challenges of the role, Chief Inspector Charlton said the selection process of rescue police was stringent.
Applicants undertake a four day selection course to determine their suitability for the role and this includes fitness, medical and psychological testing.
They are made to swim and run and are tested in a variety of situations including height, depth and confined spaces.
He said applicants which are successful at this level then undertake an eight week basic operation course, and undertake regular and ongoing training following the eight week program.
"It's 100 per cent (full on)," he said.
Chief Inspector Charlton said in addition to the two full-time positions, Chifley will later in the year also receive a brand new rescue truck, specifically designed by rescue operators and built to the specifications of police to be used in rescue call outs.
"It's got all the gear, everything we need, a one stop shop," he said.
He said Chifley will also receive a vertical rescue ascender, which basically changes the environment in which police rescue people in a vertical space and operation.
Chief Inspector Charlton said the vertical rescue ascender is expected to be well utilised given the command's proximity to the mountains.
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