New top cop settles down to business

By JOHN HALL

INSPECTOR Lee Renshaw, the new boss of Bridgewater Police, is bunkered down in his concrete-block windowless office just off Green Point Road.

He arrived in April during a tumultuous time, with promotions and transfers underway.

Inspector  Lee Renshaw, Brighton’s new top cop.
Inspector Lee Renshaw, Brighton’s new top cop.

“It’s a settling down period. I’m working on objectives, priorities and strategies,” Inspector Renshaw said.

Not just for policing matters in the Brighton municipality. The Bridgewater Division is just one of 13 police divisions in Tasmania, but it covers one-third of the state – not unlike the footprint of the Lyons electorate.

Inspector Renshaw’s beat can take him west of Lake Pedder, east almost to Little Swanport and north almost to Deloraine.  He has 49 uniformed men and women reporting to him.  His two outposts – Oatlands and New Norfolk – have resident sergeants in charge.

The name Renshaw is not an unfamiliar one in Tasmania Police.  There have been a total of four, but only one is a direct family connection.  Lee’s sister, who became Kaye Fitzgerald, was in the force, reaching the rank of sergeant before retiring to Queensland five years ago.

“She was in the force before me, and when I left school in Burnie and worked as a bank teller there and in Melbourne, I was attracted to a career with Tasmania Police,” Inspector Renshaw said.

He started as a traffic cop on motor-bikes, then as he rose through the ranks he worked in accident investigation, had two stints with the CIB, and instructed at the police academy at Rokeby.

Bridgewater’s new inspector comes from the Bellerive division.  He replaces Glen Woolley, who has moved to Hobart after being stationed at Bridgewater for five years – much longer than a normal posting for Tasmania’s police inspectors.

“Each police division has its own characteristics,” Glen Wooley said.

“The southern part of the Bridgewater division in particular has a young demographic and police here work closely with community agencies to help give children a proper foundation for life.”

Inspector Renshaw is a fit 54-year-old with two children – Emily, 15, and Sebastian, 11 – from a former marriage.  He lives in Hobart with his fiancée Vicki.  When time and the weather permit he cruises the southern coastline with friends, travelling as far as Port Davey.

But right now he is down to business in the claustrophobic local police HQ.  “There is never a dull moment here,” he says with just the hint of a smile.

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