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30 November, 2021

Rhodes retires after life changing career

AFTER almost half a century of service in the Queensland Police, respected local Inspector and motorbike aficionado Russell Rhodes marked the end of his stellar career surrounded by highranking police officials, a NRL great, friends and family.

By Rhys Thomas

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll with former Inspector Russell Rhodes and star rugby league coach Wayne Bennett at the retirement celebration on Saturday night in Mareeba.

More than 200 people, including Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll and NRL legend Wayne Bennett, gathered at the Mareeba Turf Club on Saturday night to celebrate Rhodes’s official retirement. 

Russell enrolled in the police academy straight out of high school and hasn’t looked back since, working across the far north in a range of different areas over 42 years and three months of service. 

He has developed and implemented community outreach and engagement programs that are still being utilised today. 

After climbing to the rank of Inspector, Russell became the head of the Tablelands Patrol Group. Despite the potential to rise higher, Russell was more than happy to stay where he was serving his local community. 

Assistant and deputy commissioners were among the guests that attended Russell’s farewell, including current Commissioner Carroll. 

She regaled stories of their careers, counting times between them as some of her fondest on the force. 

“I came back as the district inspector for Cairns and Russell was there among others,” she said. 

“It was an absolute ball in those years, we would sit at the table, we would joke and we would work hard – it was probably some of my dearest moments in the Queensland Police Service. 

Retired Tablelands police Inspector Russell Rhodes (centre) with his family on Saturday – brother Michael, sister Sandra, mother Thelma and brother Brad.

“Russell, it’s sad to see you go. You’ve accomplished so much – I wish you a wonderful chapter of your life. Thank you for everything and congratulations.” 

Australian NRL legend Wayne Bennett delivered some words about his special relationship with Russell. 

While Russell was in the academy, Bennett was the PE instructor and oversaw some of Russell’s training and football coaching. 

“It’s an absolute pleasure for me to be here tonight. You’re one of my great friends and you were a wonderful young man to coach,” Bennett said. 

“He’s always had a great passion and love for what he’s done and he’s influenced so many great men and women. 

“I’m so pleased to be here and all the best.” 

To commemorate his years of service, Russell was given a Commissioner’s Certificate of Service and gift, detailing his extensive career and the accolades he has earned along the way.

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