LONG SERVICE: Sgt Mike Walden is retiring from the force.
LONG SERVICE: Sgt Mike Walden is retiring from the force. Mike Knott BUN301117WALDEN2

'Inspector Gadget' retires after 40 years of service

STARTING his career more than 40 ago in the police service sergeant Michael Walden has seen a fair amount of change.

Now on his 60th birthday today he will walk from the Bundaberg Police Station for the last time with a guard of honour as he retires.

Sgt Walden has many fond memories which spans across more than three decades at the Bundaberg station.

As the office-in-charge of radio and electronics Sgt Walden has seen a fair amount of change, he shared these with the NewsMail.

Know as Mr Gadget of the force, he was responsible for the audio and visual equipment, traffic radars, rigging towers and speed cameras.

One of the first memories Sgt Walden had when he arrived at Bundaberg was when he was in the finger print section of the force.

"The first murder we had, scenes of crime didn't have a video camera, it was too expensive back then,” he said.

"I actually videotaped the guys confession, but I had to go down to Radio Rentals and hire a camera.”

He recalled sleeping at the station some nights when the town was hit with severe weather as he was the "river reader” and would have to go to the river every hour to report back to the weather bureau.

Another change he has seen is the size of technology.

"The transceivers used years ago were about 1m x 1m and would have some weight to them,” Sgt Walden said.

"Now they are no bigger than a desktop computer size.”

With more than a dozen grandchildren Sgt Walden recalls the smiles placed on youngest at the Bundaberg Show and community events.

"He was Mike the Bike, the talking police bike at the show,” his daughter Jennifer Walden said.

"Kids would come along and talk to the bike and dad would hide and speak back to them.”

She also said a fond memory of having a police man as a father was in primary school when he was her school's adopt-a-cop.

"That changed from being cool when I went to high school and dad used to turn up at school with flashing lights and back then they had speakers on the outside of the cars and he'd call out to me and my brother over it,” she said.

"The other kids started to call me piglet after that because I was the daughter of a police man.”

As he walks from the station today the memories will not fade, but Sgt Walden looks forward to building a house on his land at Bargara.



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