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Police Association Honours Officer with Bravery Award

Police Association Honours Officer with Bravery Award

A police officer who demonstrated outstanding courage has been honoured with the Police Association’s Bravery Award at the 83rd New Zealand Police Association annual conference in Wellington.

Senior Constable Scott Quate, nominated by his peers, was presented with his award by NZ’s former Govenor General, Sir Anand Satyanand.

Association President Chris Cahill said, “The officer not only displayed quick thinking, but extraordinary courage to put his life at risk to rescue others.”

On August 19, 2017, Senior Constable Scott Quate was off duty, driving with his partner and baby to Cambridge, when approaching the Fergusson Bridge, spanning the Waikato River, traffic had come to a standstill.

Below, a man was in the water screaming for help. Nearby, an unconscious woman was floating face-up. The pair had crashed through a barrier and into the fast-flowing river.

Without hesitation, Scott scrambled down a steep, 10-metre slope, then fully clothed, waded into the freezing current, quickly finding himself in deep water. Carried about 10 metres downstream towards the people in the water, he managed to grab a low-hanging branch and reach out to grab and pull the woman to him. The man was close behind.

Stranded in the torrent Scott worked to keep himself and the unconscious woman clear of the water while trying to calm the man, who was clinging to the woman fatigued and distressed. A tow rope was finally lowered to him. He secured it around the woman and all three were dragged to shallow water, where Scott immediately began CPR on the woman.

He succeeded in clearing water from her lungs and she was lifted up the bank to receive further emergency response care. Alive when taken to hospital, the woman sadly died two days later.

The Police investigation team noted that the rescued man, in his mid-60s would almost certainly have died in the freezing and turbulent waters if not for Scott’s actions.

Scott’s partner, Sandy, waited nearby with their toddler. Relief was great when he was safely back on land, exhausted and freezing cold, but unharmed except for a bruised and rope-burned arm.

Based in Napier, Scott works as a road policing officer. Eastern District Commander Superintendent Tania Kura said he had acted with great courage and presence of mind in very difficult circumstances.

No one on the scene knew that Scott was a police officer and no one else there was prepared to take the risk of entering the water.

“Such valour and determination, done without thought for his own safety, is why Scott is the recipient of this year’s Police Association Bravery Award”, Mr Cahill said.

“To be awarded the Association’s Bravery Award is the highest honour we can bestow on our members. I am tremendously proud to be associated with this officer who performed so outstandingly.”


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