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Bill Murray Award recipient Gail Cato with Police Association President Chris Cahill.

Two dedicated Police Association members received the Bill Murray Award last month in recognition of their contributions to the organisation.

President Chris Cahill presented the awards to Detective Sergeant Allan Humphries, OC of the Tactical Crime Unit in Taupō, and Gail Cato, a former station support officer at Whanganui Police Station.

Allan joined Police in 1992 after the merger with the Ministry of Transport. He joined the Taupō/Tokoroa Committee in 1995, becoming an active member. By 1998, he had been elected as secretary/treasurer.

In 1999, he was nominated as the conference delegate and it was there that he began to make his mark as an effective lobbyist.

In 2001, on behalf of his committee, he pushed for electronic voting as a way of providing better representation for the wider membership in pay rounds.

Although the electronic voting option was not taken up then, his lobbying encouraged the national office to increase the number of ratification meetings, resulting in more members casting votes.

Later, electronic voting was introduced for members who were unable to attend ratification meetings and, for the past two ratification rounds, the voting method was trialled in Waikato and Southland.

Allan chaired his local committee from 2010 to 2017, when he also held the position of Region 3 deputy regional director.

With his broad experience across collective agreements, welfare and industrial matters and his ability to “know the devil in the detail”, Allan continues to be the “go-to” person on association matters in his area and beyond.

Gail contributed more than 20 years of service to the association and held several senior committee positions. She was a serving member of the Whanganui Area Committee when she retired from Police in September 2017, having joined in 1993 as a Police employee.

She joined the association in the mid-90s when Detective Warren (Sooty) Smith was the secretary/treasurer and her first job was recording the minutes. By 1998, she was the secretary/treasurer.

In 2009, Gail was elected as a pay round adviser. She continued as secretary/treasurer till 2011 and in 2013 was appointed by the committee as a welfare officer.

Whanganui chair Zak Thornton described Gail as the committee’s most respected member, thanks to her “professionalism, sound advice and ability to organise”.

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