LIFELONG DREAM: Former police officer John Raatz, who was born and raised in the Toowoomba region, finally received the National Police Service Medal this year from Southern Region Assistant Commissioner Tony Wright.
LIFELONG DREAM: Former police officer John Raatz, who was born and raised in the Toowoomba region, finally received the National Police Service Medal this year from Southern Region Assistant Commissioner Tony Wright. Contributed

Former cop's medal a reward for not giving up on dream

WHEN John Raatz held his National Police Service medal in his hands, all he could think about was how he'd proved the doubters at home wrong.

LIFELONG DREAM: Former police officer John Raatz, who was born and raised in the Toowoomba region, finally received the National Police Service Medal this year from Southern Region Assistant Commissioner Tony Wright.
LIFELONG DREAM: Former police officer John Raatz, who was born and raised in the Toowoomba region, finally received the National Police Service Medal this year from Southern Region Assistant Commissioner Tony Wright. Contributed

The Toowoomba region-born man, who now lives near Ipswich, was officially recognised this year for his 22 years serving in the Queensland Police Service.

Born on a farm between Goombungee and Crows Nest, Mr Raatz said he'd wanted to be a police officer since he was a young boy.

"Right from when I was six I wanted to, I just loved the uniform and everything was right about it - I had a strict sense of right and wrong," he said.

"I always wanted to be a police officer, I had 100 per cent commitment (to achieving it)."

But Mr Raatz had more than his share of cynics, who were mostly family members or community members.

"I was a fourth generation (on the farm) - if you're a farmer, you're supposed to be a farmer always, they said," he said.

"They couldn't believe it happened, that I'd stayed in there. They said I wouldn't last in the job."

But Mr Raatz forged ahead with his career in the QPS, working in Brisbane, Gympie, Eidsvold and Gladstone among other places.

He reached the rank of sergeant before his dream was shattered by a horrific car crash in 1982 while on shift.

"A drink driver came through an intersection and ploughed me out and broke my legs and arms," he said.

"As a result of those injuries, basically I had to retire."

Mr Raatz now spends his time keeping bees and enjoying his family in North Booval.



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