Veteran Newcastle police officer Tony Tamplin has died after suffering a suspected heart attack at work.
NSW Police say Senior Constable Tony Tamplin, 54, had only just arrived for work this morning at Waratah Police Station when he took a turn.
Colleagues performed CPR until an ambulance arrived, but he died shortly after arriving at the Mater Hospital at about 7.30am (AEST).
Senior Constable Tamplin had celebrated 35 years in the police force earlier this month, 29 of those as a media officer.
Former colleague and friend Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox went through the police academy with Senior Constable Tamplin.
He says he was a dedicated officer and community member.
“Sad as I am with his passing, I don’t think Tony would’ve wanted it any other way, to have passed away at work doing something that he was passionate about and something that he loved,” he said.
“I think that whenever anyone thinks of policing in the Hunter they think of Tony Tamplin, he has been the voice of policing up here for over a quarter of a century.
“He obviously made a career in a media liaison role and it was something that he loved with an enormous passion.”
Newcastle Local Area Commander, Superintendent John Gralton says the Hunter has lost a piece of its heart.
“Tony was larger than life, he was a big character, a character within the community but also a character within New South Wales Police Force,” he said.
“He’s wife Sonia said to me today that he would want people to celebrate his life and even 20 years ago he said when I do go make sure people celebrate and have a good time.”
Superintendent Gralton says Senior Constable Tamplin will receive a full police funeral.
“He is a significant loss to this community,” he said.
“Tony was larger than life, he was a massive community figure around Newcastle and the Hunter region.
“He did much for local charities, he did a hell of a lot of work for the New South Wales Police Force, recently celebrating 35 years in the cops.”
New South Wales Police Minister Michael Gallacher says it is a sad day for both the police force and the community.
“There’s no doubt that we’re all hurting,” he said.
“He was a big personality and he had a big role not just here in our region but indeed in terms of building those relationships between the police and the wider community and he will be sorely missed.
“It’s important for his family, friends and colleagues to know just how valued he was to all of us.”
Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery says he worked tirelessly for the community, particularly children.
“He’s a great family man, I’ve talked to him about family issues and issues for children with disadvantages,” she said.
“He’s been a role model for both the police force and good behaviour.
“I just want to speak on behalf of the Wallsend electorate and the Hunter community and say how sad I am about this news and we will sorely miss Tony.”
Senior Constable Tamplin will also be remembered for his work with children’s charities, particularly the Variety Club.
I have had the pleasure of knowing Tony in both a professional and personal capacity. He was a big man, with a big heart and a wicked sense of humour. He will be sadly missed by all.
Source: ABC News