Funeral of Chief Inspector Anthony ‘Tony’ Townsend

Members of the NSW Police Force and the Hunter community have come together to farewell a diligent and dedicated officer and loving father, who passed away last week.

The late Chief Inspector Anthony Townsend – known affectionately to most as Tony and “TT” – died last Tuesday 23 August 2022, following a long battle with cancer, aged 61.

Chief Inspector Townsend attested from the Redfern Police Academy in March 1983 and commenced his policing career in general duties at The Rocks in Sydney, before starting a long stint in police prosecutions. Tony continued to study in this field, graduating with a Diploma of Law and a practicing certificate in Law whilst working within the prosecutions command in the Northern Region until 2001, when he transferred to the Lower Hunter Local Area Command at the rank of Constable.

Tony – a Hunter local, born and raised in Dungog – continued policing within the Hunter and Port Stephens area for the remainder of his career, raising through the ranks at both the Lower Hunter and Port Stephens Commands before they amalgamated in 2018. He was appointed Chief Inspector in 2019 and operated as the Local Emergency Operations Controller for the Dungog Shire.

During his career, Chief Inspector Townsend was the recipient of various awards acknowledging his service to the NSW Police Force, including the NSW Police Medal and various associated clasps, a NSW Premier Emergency Award for his work during the Hunter/Central Coast Storm Emergency in 2007, a National Police Service Medal in 2014, and a Commissioner’s Unit Citation in 2016.

Whilst remaining a committed police officer for close to 40 years, ‘TT’ was also an avid member of the rugby league community. He was working as a police prosecutor when he played for the St George Illawarra Dragons, before being part of the inaugural Newcastle Knights team in 1988. He retired from professional football three years later to focus on policing, however remained extremely involved in grassroots programs and youth programs afterwards.

Northern Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Peter McKenna APM, said Chief Inspector Townsend was an extremely hard-working and courageous officer, who continued to serve his community as a District Inspector until his passing.

“Tony was an exemplary example of what it meant to be a community leader and role model,” Assistant Commissioner McKenna said.

“His dedication and commitment to the residents of Dungog and the Lower Hunter basin for decades was second to none. He would always go the extra mile to get the job done for his community.

“He kept his private battles exactly that – private. You would never have been the wiser speaking to Tony, he was the epitome of a gentleman and a professional police officer.

“He is one of those cops who inspired the next generation of officer coming through the commands, and I couldn’t be prouder to have worked alongside him and know him for a large part of my policing career.

“TT – it’s been a privilege and you will be sorely missed by your police family and indeed, the wider Hunter community,” Assistant Commissioner McKenna said.

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