NSW Police Force form a guard of honour at the funeral of Richard ’John’ Blackler as his family enters the Lismore Memorial Gardens Chapel,Wednesday, October 27, 2010.
NSW Police Force form a guard of honour at the funeral of Richard ’John’ Blackler as his family enters the Lismore Memorial Gardens Chapel,Wednesday, October 27, 2010. JERAD WILLIAMS

Snr Con Blackler laid to rest

IT WAS a simple yet extraordinary service for a humble copper who had devoted his life to his family and the NSW Police Force.

Retired Senior Constable Richard ‘John’ Blackler was farewelled by family, friends and colleagues at Lismore Memorial Gardens chapel yesterday.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Mick Corboy, Mr Blackler’s former police academy student, didn’t mince his words.

“John was the best police officer I have worked with,” he said.

“He was my hero. His service record bears testimony to his high level of commitment, integrity and indeed, unwavering professionalism as a police officer.

“I am deeply, deeply honoured to be able to represent the NSW Police Force here today to farewell a highly regarded former police officer who served his community with courage, honour and distinction.”

Mr Blackler’s plain wooden casket was carried past a guard of honour to the strains of a lone piper playing the Battle of the Somb.

The Acting Deputy Commissioner saluted his former instructor, along with Assistant Commissioner Jeff Loy, Chief Superintendent Steve Cullen, Superintendent Ian Lynch and local area commander, Superintendant Bruce Lyons with ten of his officers.

Mr Blackler retired to the Northern Rivers to be closer to his children and grandchildren in 1992 after a 37 year career in the police force.

Described by his daughter, Renae Green, as a devoted husband, father and grandfather, and a true gentleman who always carried himself with dignity and compassion, Mr Blackler joined the force in November 1955 after a multitude of jobs.

He was promoted to senior sergeant in 1966 – the rank he would proudly carry till his retirement – serving as a general duties officer at North Sydney for 20 years before transferring to the city.

In 1981 he was commended by then Commissioner Lees for his leadership in averting violence by quelling a ‘potentially dangerous civil demonstration’ involving angry squatters at The Rocks.

After 31 years on the beat, he transferred to the NSW Police Academy at Redfern where he worked as an instructor before taking up an instructor’s position within the force’s management program in 1989 until his retirement three years later.

In 1991 he was awarded the Australian Police Medal for distinguished service – the first time such an award was presented to a senior constable.

Mr Blackler co-authored several text books on policing and police ethics which are still in use today in Australia, the UK and India.

His co-author, Professor Seumas Miller, spoke at yesterday’s service, remembering the day they met.

“I was the newly arrived head of social science at CSU when John surprisingly suggested we should be more involved in policing research and teaching,” he said.

“Remarkably, John Blackler, the street cop, was incredibly well read. He made an important contribution by providing a bridge between the academic world and the police world.

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