Commissioner of Police Ken Moroney APM MA
Regd. # 11553
17 April 2002 – 1 September 2007
WHEN veteran crime-fighter Ken Moroney becomes the state’s new Police Commissioner today, he does so carrying a heavy burden both at work and at home.
On the eve of his being sworn in as the state’s 19th Commissioner, Mr Moroney revealed he would willingly sacrifice the coveted job for the love of his wife Bev who has suffered breast cancer.
“If Bev’s condition deteriorates I will give it away,” Mr Moroney told The Daily Telegraph last night.
“My family comes first and then being a police officer is second.”
Mrs Moroney will be at her proud husband’s side during today’s Mascot ceremony but because of her poor health it is understood he agonised over whether to take up the job.
Later there was speculation he would withdraw his name.
“She’s fine now, she’s been in remission twice and she only goes to hospital for check-ups,” Mr Moroney said. But before accepting the job, he said he telephoned his wife and asked her if she could cope with the pressures. She gave him the thumbs up.
“I said do you understand the pressures?” he told her.
“She didn’t hesitate, she said ‘This is what you want, we’ll do it together’.
“My wife Bev probably is the one person who brings me down to earth. She said to me the other day, ‘Life will be normal. You can still mow the lawn next Saturday and clean the pool next Saturday afternoon’.
“You need those sort of reality checks.”
Mrs Moroney is also still recovering from injuries she received in a car accident about a year ago.
Mr Moroney said: “The first person I spoke to was Bev. I did that for a particular reason, she had suffered twice with breast cancer. I supported her. I didn’t live through it because I wasn’t the one with breast cancer.
“I said to her at the time ‘I don’t know how you feel and what it’s like to have breast cancer, but with the rest of the family I’m going to support you’.
“We’ve been married for 33 years, and I don’t know that that makes us old fashioned, we have a strong commitment to each other.
“When I was asked would I Act in the role of Commissioner, literally she was the first person I rang . . . and you saw the enormous pressure that it created on [previous commissioners’ wives] Zoe Avery and Adrienne Ryan.”
For the Moroneys, police work is almost a family business. The couple, married for 33 years, have three sons, Peter, 26, a detective attached to the NSW Crime Commission, Michael, 30, a Liverpool detective, and Andrew, 25, a security officer.
One of the Moroneys’ daughters-in-law, Ruth, is also in the police force.
NSW Cabinet yesterday endorsed Mr Moroney’s two-year appointment ahead of Assistant Commissioner Clive Small and former Olympic security chief Paul McKinnon.
The “cut-price Commissioner” replaces “terminated” British import Peter Ryan on a salary of $327,865 – more than $127,000 less than his predecessor.
Mr Moroney, who will be sworn in today by NSW District Court Judge Bob Belleart, has been acting Commissioner since April.
Premier Bob Carr made no secret yesterday Mr Moroney was the new broom the Government so desperately wanted.
“I want to welcome Ken Moroney to the job, a very big job, but one that he undertakes with the full support of the Government and, I believe, the people of NSW,” Mr Carr said.
“What we saw on Friday night, the high visibility, high-impact policing [of operation Vikings], is precisely what we want.
“And we’re confident in the capacity of the new Commissioner to deliver that, among other things.”
Police Minister Michael Costa said Mr Moroney’s “back to basics” approach was supported by frontline police and the community.
“I look forward to continuing our partnership,” Mr Costa said.
“He will work with the NSW Government to drive down crime and ensure the police force meets the community’s expectations.”
Mr Moroney’s appointment was recommended by a three-member selection panel chaired by Premier’s Department Director-General Dr Col Gellatly.
The 37-year police veteran, comes to the job with a “grassroots” outlook on policing.
He started his police life at the Academy in Bourke St, Redfern, in 1965 and was appointed a Probationary Constable, Regd. # 11553, on 16 August 1965 and being first stationed at Liverpool. Half of his service was spent in country towns such as Lismore, and West Wyalong in the Riverina.
In 1987 he was appointed director of recruit training at the Police Academy in Goulburn at the rank of superintendent which he held until October 1990 when he was appointed chief-of-staff to the commissioner, serving under both John Avery and Tony Lauer.
In June 1993 he became executive director of education and training and in March 1997 he was appointed commander of the City East region.
On July 1, 1999 he was appointed Deputy Commissioner.