With almost 40 combined years of service to Penrith Police, beloved civilian officers Claire Hogan and Barbara Wagstaff signed out together for the last time on Thursday.
The General Administrative Support Officers have for many years been the first smiling faces seen by local people who enter Penrith Police Station but retirement has called for the pair, who after making a pact many years ago, left their long careers in Penrith simultaneously.
Ms Wagstaff, 65, has held her role for 24 years and Ms Hogan, 70, for 14,
“You couldn’t describe our job here. It is so varied, no two days are the same and you get very close to the people here, it is a police family,” Ms Hogan told the Weekender.
“We’ve worked a lot of years between us, haven’t we. It’s time for us to go.”
It is with many regrets that the pair leave their police family, saying that for both of them it is the camaraderie at the local station they will miss the most.
“It is with sadness we leave, and also excitement of what is ahead. But I will miss it – working with the staff here and the friendships I have made,” Ms Hogan said.
“It has been a wonderful, wonderful experience. It has been a real honour to have been able to work here. Before I started here, I could never have appreciated what police put up with, the day to day things they have to do. I just have such admiration for them now,” Ms Wagstaff said.
In many ways, the women deserve and receive this level of admiration from their colleagues, the sworn officers, and local residents, who often send them letters of appreciation, because of the high-pressure nature of their roles.
Ms Hogan and Ms Wagstaff would often be the first people to speak to a victim, who may be traumatised, and often have to deal with some very strange requests.
“There are days where we laugh a lot and there are days where we are quite sad because of the things that are happening,” Ms Wagstaff said.
“You’ve got to have your wits about you all the time – we are getting phone calls where people on the other end are screaming and you have to try and calm them down. There is a lot in the job that people just wouldn’t realise but we will miss it all the same.”
The pair already have plans to continue their presence with Penrith Police by volunteering for a number of organisations including Penrith PCYC and Police Legacy.
Ms Wagstaff and Ms Hogan were formally ‘walked out’ of the station yesterday (Thursday) by Penrith’s police force, many of whom have worked alongside the women for years.