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Police Commend Bravery in Tokoroa

Media Release

Date: 13 December 2007

Police Commend Bravery in Tokoroa

Tokoroa Police have paid tribute to the calmness shown by Tokoroa Hospital staff during this week's armed offenders' call out.

Detective Sergeant Kevan Verry of the Criminal Investigation Branch singled out Mental Health Community south rural team co-ordinator Maureen Henry for her quick-thinking and bravery.

During the two-hour incident some Tokoroa Hospital staff and patients were told to stay inside the hospital while others waited behind the cordon.

The alleged offender had a 9.30am appointment in the mental health rooms which are separate to the hospital. Soon after he came into the room, Sgt Verry rang through to Maureen. She went outside to speak to the police to find out what was going on and was told the offender might have a gun.

Maureen suggested she should go back into the building and get the 10 staff members inside to come out. She felt it better that she do that because the offender knew her and would not get suspicious.

Sgt Verry said Maureen calmly got everyone to leave the building in groups of three and then asked the doctor and nurse who were assessing the offender to come out as well.

She ensured all the exits were locked and was the last out of the building. She and the rest of the staff waited outside until the Armed Offenders came. Meanwhile the offender was inside the building on his own.

Police used a loud hailer and asked him to come out which he did. The only way out was through the front door.

Sgt Verry said Maureen's actions were very brave.

Maureen said she only did what came naturally. She is a trained registered nurse who has lived in Tokoroa for 38 years, been involved in Community Mental Health for 14 years and in her present position as team co-ordinator for six years.

Working in mental health meant panicking was never an option, she said.

ENDS

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