“My greatest honour was opening a building in memory of PCSO Alex Franklin” – Superintendent shares memories as he moves to pastures new
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Superintendent Dennis Murray
Superintendent Dennis Murray has shared his thoughts and memories of Northamptonshire Police as he prepares to leave the force after nearly three decades.
Speaking about three of his most significant memories, he said: “My number one memory is taking over as commander of the North local policing area. This is where I grew up and where my family live. It was a chance to come back home. I was a Special Constable here in 1991 and after only nine months joined the regulars. They changed the 12-month rule for me!
“My greatest honour was opening a building in memory of PCSO Alex Franklin. I attended an event where all of the school children whose lives he had touched were there. Loads of them were crying, he had such a positive influence over those kids. We all really felt the loss of Alex, and it was a privilege to dedicate a building in his memory.
“One of my proudest times was all of the work I got involved with as part of the Kettering Racial and Inter-Social Partnership. We did loads of outreach work and put on all sorts of events; carnival, Africa night etc. I remember that people actually flew in from Africa for that event. They told me that they never even realised that the police were there to help their communities in the UK, they don’t have that sort of relationship with their local police. I remember that the Uni put on a play where there was no language, so it could be enjoyed by more people. Loads of the community got involved and it just showed me what the community can bring to policing.”
Speaking of his most difficult times in policing, he said: “My worst time in the police was when I went to a road accident where my 13-year-old nephew and his friend had been killed. There was a massive mix of emotions, I remember kneeling on the floor crying because it was a member of my family, but at the same time thinking about preserving the scene for evidence. I kept flitting in and out of “cop mode”. Of everything that has happened during my time in the police, I think that was the most impactive.”
Offering advice to those who remain at Northamptonshire Police, he said: “You will know and feel disappointment in your career, and you will know success too. Everything relates to how you act during those times. In some respects, you should treat those times lightly, like a bit of a game. The trick is knowing who to go to and when. Many people have been where you are and have progressed. You can learn about it from them and make the same progress without getting battle scars! This is the strength of networking. But don’t forget that all of this comes back to the service that we deliver to the public. Everything we do should be for them. I think that sometimes that gets lost in people’s journeys through the ranks of the police.
“I would also say to get to know people, and to build a rapport. Find things that you have in common, listen to them and build on those commonalities. Make connections with people and give them your time and help because those connections will help you one day.
“It is our job to pay it forwards, to pass on what we have learned. When I was going for promotion to Superintendent, I rang the Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police Chris Ayres for advice. He drove to Northampton and gave me three and a half hours of his time, just to help me out. He didn’t even know me. Many people across the police have had that support, pay it forwards to the next bunch of people coming through, don’t pull up the ladder before they can get there.
On a lighter note, when asked about the ‘Dennis brand’ he referred to himself as: “Loud! Fast. Ultimate commitment to the community and to the people that work for me. All of those things come across in who I am.”
When asked about who would play him in a film, he replied:
“Dreams: The Rock
“Reality: The news correspondent Martin Bashir! When I had hair I used to get told I looked like him!”
Speaking about a famous personality he most admired, he said: “I would have to say Muhammed Ali. People saw him as loud and fast but when you spoke to him you could see that his goals and passions were really clear. Despite all of the challenges he faced he always wanted to do the right thing. He also knew the dangers and consequences in what he did, but he was prepared to accept the risks to achieve greatness.”
Leaving on some touching thoughts, he said: “I joined the Police 29 years ago. I came in with no qualifications. I was in a minority group and came from a poor estate. I leave Northamptonshire as the Superintendent in charge of half of the force. I have achieved a Master’s degree and I have a good quality of life. Every day is different and every day you have an opportunity to make a difference. You don’t get that in every job and it’s not over for me yet! I have plenty more to do.”