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The people who watch over our city

TOP TEAM: Lismore City Council rangers Jody Hinds, Skyhe Hoyt, Russell Davis, Glenn Pease and Craig Devonshire (front).
TOP TEAM: Lismore City Council rangers Jody Hinds, Skyhe Hoyt, Russell Davis, Glenn Pease and Craig Devonshire (front).

THE Ranger team at Lismore City Council have tough jobs by anyone's measure.

From issuing infringements to dog attacks, straying livestock, abandoned vehicles and neighbourhood disputes, the Rangers see a lot - and not all of it nice - in their day-to-day work.

Here we meet the team who might be rescuing dogs in the morning to checking CCTV cameras in the afternoon.

Senior Ranger Jody Hinds has been with Lismore City Council for three-and-a-half years.

Jody's background includes a Bondi lifeguard and a crewman with Sydney rescue services. He has been a Ranger in local government for 26 years.

"The diversity of the work is challenging but can also be exciting - every day you come to work and you don't know what will happen. It might be dealing with a dangerous dog or rescuing a cow from the river,” Jody said. "My favourite part of the job is our team. We work together as a unit and support one another. There are some pretty distressing elements to being a Ranger, including seeing animals neglected or dealing with a dog attack, so we cope with those moments by debriefing and giving one another good support. You have to keep a sense of humour, and despite the seriousness of what we do, there is a lot of laughter in the Rangers' department.”

Trainee Ranger Skyhe Hoyt, 25, is the first trainee Ranger at council. She is also the first female Ranger. She started work in September 2016.

"She's the only woman in our team and it's great to finally have some gender diversity,” Jody said. "She has great enthusiasm and passion for making a career in this industry. We're all like protective big brothers.”

Ranger Russell Davis would be known to readers - a large part of his work is dealing with abandoned and neglected dogs and running Lismore Pound. Jody said he is absolutely devoted to the animals.

"The success of the In the Doghouse column has been a real joy for Russell,” Jody said. "To see the Lismore Pound empty is an amazing feat and we're achieved that several times last year. That just inspired him to work even harder to rehouse the animals coming into care, and at present, we are finding homes as swiftly as we are picking up dogs.”

Ranger Glenn Pease has been with Lismore City Council for three years. He was previously a Ranger at Tully in Queensland for more than 20 years and his major role is probably one of the hardest - parking inspections.

"It's got to be one of the toughest jobs in council - he's not handing out hugs and kisses, he's handing out infringements,” Jody said.

"He's the most compassionate inspector I've ever worked with - he has a job to do but he uses discretion. He always treats people how he would want to be treated - being fair and following the principles of natural justice.”

Ranger Craig Devonshire has been with council for four years and is a former police detective who worked with the NSW Major Crime Armed Hold-up Unit North Region and the tactical unit for Richmond Local Area Command Northern Region.

Craig is the team's investigations expert - he gets the tough gigs like multiple dog attacks or serious infringements where the case is likely to end up in court.

"Craig is a mentor and a very experienced Ranger - he has a cool, calm head in dangerous and serious situations that only comes from years of training in the field,” Jody said.

"He is definitely the father figure of the group.”

Jody explained that Rangers are always looking to resolve problems rather than issue fines or infringements.

"Our main role is education,” Jody said.

"Most people want to do the right thing and work with us.

"While the job can test your faith in humanity, most of the time people have just made honest mistakes.

"The majority of people we meet are good, honest folk and that's heartening.”

Topics:  lismore city council ranger


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