AFTER a hard life on the beat, it seems many retired officers are drawn to the sun and sand in Sutherland Shire.
About 200 retired police officers with more than 5000 years of combined service gathered at events at Cronulla and Sutherland last Friday for the first formal NSW Retired Police Day.
"It's good for the Commissioner to recognise retired police because for so many years they were kind of ignored," said the welfare officer for retired police in St George and Sutherland Shire, John Prince.
"I'm sure there will be plenty of war stories shared here today."
There was a lot of back-slapping, laughing and glass clanking at Club Cronulla, where Miranda local area command amassed about 100 former officers, including former assistant commissioner Norm Maroney, former NRL referee Bill Harrigan and the most recent retiree — Samantha Barlow.
Former Sergeant Barlow, 37, recently said goodbye to a job she hoped she would remain in until 60 after a vicious attack in 2009 left her with physical and psychological trauma.
Eight officers clocked up more than 40 years' service while 32 officers served for 30 years or more.
Sutherland local area command had no problem filling its Flora Street police station with big names, including retired Constable 1st Class and rugby league immortal John Raper and Retired Constable 1st Class Joan Crutcher, 85.
Former Inspector Tom (Henry) Stone shared his 90th birthday with 107 guests.
During the ceremony police presented a commemorative plaque to the family of Constable Colin Ray, who was killed on duty while riding a motorcycle at Kirrawee in 1967.
The first Retired Police Day coincides with the 150-year celebration of NSW Police.