Veteran Commander Eric Sutton enjoyed the company of former colleagues this week at the Pyalong Hotel. (Eric is seated in the middle of the photo wearing a tie) He spoke about his career, the people and his many incredible experiences.
Former Assistant Commissioner Bill Horman described Commander Eric Sutton as follows: –
“Eric has a wonderful ability to make people he was dealing with feel special.”
During his career Eric received the prestigious Valour Award in 1962 for single headedly disarming a man threatening him and others with a firearm, he’s been awarded numerous Chief Commissioner commendations, investigated the most notorious crimes and sent many dangerous criminals to prison. His firm handshake reveals the strength from his time as a boxer and genuine affection for the person he is meeting.
He’s a tough, professional but fair main who is respected by everyone. His list of accomplishments is too numerous to mention however be assured, there will never be another Eric Sutton. His common-sense approach to Police work, management of people and problem-solving skills is unique and rare. When everyone around him was panicking, Eric was cool, calm and calculating which put people at ease. “It’s not hard” he says, “people need to have good, experienced leadership examples so they can be leaders. Unfortunately, sometimes a lack of experienced leaders only detracts from an organisation.”
His approach to discipline amongst the ranks gained him respect and admiration. “Why destroy a man’s career over a minor infraction” was his way of dealing with discipline. As Bill Horman says, he had a wonderful ability to make the people dealing with him feel special, even under difficult circumstances.
Today’s world is different from Eric’s time and people say it’s impossible to return to days where Police had control of the streets however many issues remain constant. Experience, strong leadership, practical decision-making ability and a common-sense approach always prevail over rigid bureaucracy.
We all had a wonderful day listening to Eric Sutton’s experiences, he’s in his nineties now however he has not lost any of his personality, wit or clarity. If you get the chance to call into the Pyalong Hotel and you may meet Eric. If you do, just listen, you won’t be disappointed.