When Detective Senior Constable Martin Gampe noticed a family wasn’t coping well after the tragic death of their toddler, he made it his job to check in on them weekly.
He said he was just doing his job when he extended his personal support to them after the two-year-old was killed on the family property at Beechwood, stuck by a truck on July 25 last year.
As a mark of his compassion, presented the family with a glass collage in memory of their child on Christmas Eve.
On Friday, November 4, the Laurieton policeman won the prestigious 2016 NSW Rotary Customer Service Excellence Award. The announcement was made at a gala dinner, the Rotary Clubs of NSW Police Officer of the Year Awards, in Sydney acknowledging members of the police force who go beyond the call of duty.
As a 32-year veteran of the force, Det. Snr. Const. Gampe has performed general duties, worked at crash and criminal investigations in Sydney and the Mid North Coast.
A mentor to junior officers and a comfort to victims of crime, he personifies outstanding customer service and dedication to duty whilst maintaining an excellent arrest rate and work ethic, stated the nomination entry by Local Area Commander Paul Fehon.
In accepting the award on Friday night Det. Snr. Const Gampe recalled the highs and lows of life as a police officer but said if he had his time over, he would do it all again.
Listen to his speech here:
“I’ve loved my career as a police officer,” he said.
“The worst part of being a cop is dealing with some of the criminals. It can be taxing on the mind and time consuming and we tend to forget about the victims, because we do bounce from one job to another.
“There are times, as police, we witness indescribable tragedies. I find that how we as police deal with the survivors of these tragedies is not only crucial to them but also helps with our sanity.
“It’s hard to completely divorce yourself from some of the things we do and I think trying to do so doesn’t do you any good anyway.
“There are people who can cope with tragedy and others can’t. There are those who will ask for help, but there are those that won’t and we need to focus on them. Some people just don’t have the trust of the police or they are just that torn up they don’t know how to ask for our help.
“On July 25 last year I saw a young family going through a bit of hell after their two-year-old daughter passed away in tragic circumstances.
“Myself and Tania Smith agreed to keep tabs on the family. We went to see them once a week and as we realised they were getting better we extended it to once a month.”
Det. Snr Const. Gampe, through his daughter who worked for a local portrait photographer, was able to source photos of the family with their daughter and compiled a glass collage to give to the family on Christmas Eve.
“I’m a little bit embarrassed to receive this award and humbled to be nominated.”
He thanked colleges, in particular Inspector Mick Aldridge who was there on the day of the tragedy and “was all over Tania and I in regards to our welfare.”
He thanked his wife Deb.
“We have five young grandchildren and she knew I was pretty upset by what happened that day. She got straight on to Sergeant Mick Walker. He’s been a great boss and very helpful to me and all the fellas who work with him.”
He thanked Superintendent Fehon for putting his name forward for the award.
“Lastly, I’d like to apologise to my children for being over protective during their childhood. Being police, we see things that make us worry for our own families and I might have been a bit tough on them.”