Drugs, firearms, road policing, youth engagement and COVID response are areas of focus for Macedon Ranges’ new police area commander Inspector Tom Ebinger.
He began in the role in July, marking his first regional post in a policing career that spans 34 years.
“I come to this role with a bit of experience behind me and hopefully I can use that to benefit the community,” he told the Express.
“The sense of community here is really important. My first observations are that the community wants to feel connected with police and that’s a priority of mine – that we’re accessible and visible.”
Insp Ebinger said he was eager to work with community agencies and schools to improve youth engagement.
He said other focus areas were crime around drugs and firearms, road policing in relation to road trauma and enforcing COVID restrictions.
“We’re on the fringe of regional and metropolitan, so there’s an increased police presence. As much as you’ve got the Macedon Ranges police in the area, we’re also getting support from metropolitan police to ensure that people are complying with the COVID restrictions,” he said.
“I think that we’ve got to a point where people are aware. So education now is moving more towards enforcement around blatant and clear breaches.
“The majority of people do the right thing but we still are getting those that are flouting rules and we’re taking action against those that choose to run the gauntlet.”
Previously posted at Darebin, Insp Ebinger described his move to the area as serendipitous after exploring the region with his wife.
“Opportunity arose and I didn’t hesitate to jump at it,” he said.
“I feel very fortunate. My first impressions have been really positive and that the community is just fantastic.”
The Macedon Ranges Police Service area includes eight police stations and 90 police officers, and support staff.
Insp Ebinger encouraged Macedon Ranges residents to engage with local police to improve community safety.
“I am making myself accessible. I want to let people know I’m here, I’m approachable and I’m happy to catch up,” he said.
“Policing for me is about the community. The community is our priority and we want to provide a service that delivers on community safety.”