Wednesday, June 19, 2024

North Canterbury constable crowned road safety hero

A new national Road Safety Hero has been crowned as part of last week’s Road Safety Week activities – with North Canterbury’s Senior Constable Ken Terry taking out the honour.

Senior Constable Terry was awarded the prestigious Annual Yellow Ribbon Road Safety Hero Award at the Yellow Ribbon Road Safety Alliance Hui in Auckland on Thursday.

The award recognises individuals who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to promoting road safety within their communities.

The honour came as a complete surprise to the officer, who says he didn’t know he had been nominated.

“It is an absolute thrill to be acknowledged at a national level,” said Snr Const Terry.

“Spreading the message about road safety is so important – too many lives are lost on our roads.”

Snr Const Terry has been a country cop for most of his 38 years in NZ Police and is now a School Community Officer in North Canterbury.

He says road safety plays a big part in his role as a School Community Officer, but it’s not road safety that he’s most passionate about, it’s people.

“Like most cops, I remember every fatal crash I’ve attended vividly, and there have been a lot, too many to count.”

“The impact on families and communities is devastating.”

As a School Community Officer, he trains and mentors school patrols, kea crossings and traffic wardens in North Canterbury. He also teaches bus safety, bike safety, safe walking and other road safety programmes to primary schools.

In his spare time, Snr Const Terry is a mentor for the Community Driver Mentor Programme, supporting learner and restricted drivers to become competent, confident and safe drivers and pass their next driving test.

“We need to start with the kids,” he says.

“Education on simple principles with simple messages is the way to teach road safety to children and young people.

“It sets them up to be safe road users when they are learner drivers and as adult users of roads in our community.”

He was nominated for the award by Mark White, AA Canterbury/West Coast Councillor, who says, “New Zealand Police are very fortunate – as are we as parents and grandparents – to have an individual like Ken who lives and breathes children’s safety.

“Ken’s passion for road safety and his genuine concern for the well-being of our children have made him an invaluable asset to our community. This award is a small but fitting recognition of his tremendous contributions.”

Snr Const Terry works with the AA Canterbury/West Coast Council on their ‘Be Safe Be Seen’ initiative, which involves distributing cycle lights to school children.

“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to collaborate on this project. We love seeing kids biking and riding to school – it helps build confidence and it’s great for health and well-being too. But more than anything we want them to be safe,” he said.

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