After 40 years of continuous service to the NSW Police Force, Father Barry Dwyer OAM has decided to retire as their chaplain in the Lachlan area.
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There for officers during their best and worst times, it was fitting that National Police Remembrance Day on Friday held at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Parkes was his last service as police chaplain.
"The police have been good to me and I hope I've been good to them," he said.
Father Dwyer became honorary chaplain for the Lachlan Local Area Command, that's now part of the Central West Police District, when he retired from full-time duties at 70 years old and returned home to Parkes in 2015.
He was invited to be a police chaplain in 1983 and became the first full-time chaplain, counsellor and lecturer at the NSW Police Academy in Goulburn in 1993. He went on to become senior state chaplain of the NSW Police Force Specialist Operations in Sydney from 2000-2015, being on-call 24/7 for those who needed support and counselling.
Police chaplains are present at most major disasters and critical incidents and Father Dwyer has seen his fair share. He accompanied and supported state and Australian Federal Police during major incidents and operations during his 22 years as a full time chaplain.
"I'd like to thank the police for their support over the years," Father Dwyer said.
"You think I was there to support the police but most of the time they supported me, it's important we work together."
Turning 78 in December this year, Father Dwyer said it was his time to step down and let someone younger come through.
"I had an officer thank me and tell me 'I've never had to use your services but it was always good to know you were there'," he said.
"That reminded me of a trapeze and the net underneath - if they had to use it, it was there.
"Many people think it's doom and gloom but there's a lot of good things."
Father Dwyer was recognised with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in June for his 50 years serving others as a priest and the 40 years as police chaplain.
Read more about his time as a police chaplain and 50 years a priest here: Man for all occasions: Father Barry Dwyer honoured with OAM.
He received his medal in time for Friday's service and wore it proudly.
His older sister Maureen Maxwell who still resides in Parkes also attended Friday's Police Remembrance Day for her brother's final police service.
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