Ballinalee’s Garda Frank Reynolds celebrated his retirement last Friday with a party in Ballinalee village where he spent many years at the helm of rural law enforcement.
The Sligo native spent 32 years in An Garda Síochána with just under 30 of those stationed in Granard initially, then Aughnacliffe and finally establishing roots at the station in Ballinalee, which incidentally is now closed since 2012.
It was the early 1980s when Frank Reynolds began considering a career in the Gardai; prior to that he spend four years working for the Department of Post and Telegraphs - now Eircom.
“I suppose it was the early 80s and a career in the guards was something that was possible at that time,” he mused speaking to the Leader three days into retired life.
“After Templemore, I went to Emyvale, Co Monaghan and then I was stationed in Granard for a few years.
“I was later sent to Ballinalee and there I remained until the station closed two years ago.
“The closure is not something that I agree with and I think that it was a sad day for the people of Ballinalee to be honest.”
During his long and established career there were many successes with crime prevention at local level.
The former garda boils a lot of that success down to the good relations between the people of the community and their local garda.
“The community is at the heart of everything; it is necessary that the local guard establishes good relationships with the people of the community,” he continued.
“A good alliance with the community is one of the most important aspects for the Gardaí. “It’s about local solutions to local problems.”
Throughout the years it is the support of the local GAA members and the success of the Text Alert system that have kept crime at bay locally, the former garda points out. “The Text Alert began as a pilot scheme and look at it today - it has been a huge success and that is down to the whole community working together.
“I hope that I have been courteous and respectful to victims of crime during my years as a garda.
“As I always say there is a little good in everyone that is bad and a bit of bad in everyone that is good!”
One of the biggest highlights for Garda Reynolds was the policing of the Dublin-Longford League game in which “Dublin was taken out of Croke Park”. “That was a great occasion for the people of Longford.”