ALBURY police who investigated one of their own for drug trafficking had acted with integrity in difficult circumstances, a senior officer said yesterday.
It was the first time a colleague of decorated ex-detective Matthew Marshall had spoken publicly since his arrest on October 10 last year.
Marshall, 42, of Thurgoona, was sentenced on Monday to 18 months’ jail.
His solicitor has lodged a severity appeal and he was bailed to appear at District Court at a later date.
Acting Superintendent David Cottee said the sentencing marked the end of a difficult period for police.
“It’s been an unfortunate chapter to have had a man who was one of our colleagues charged with such serious matters and we view this sentencing as an end to that chapter,” Supt Cottee said.
Detectives in Albury’s drug unit netted Marshall as part of an ongoing investigation into trafficking on the Border.
Code-named Operation Roder, the investigation resulted in 10 people being charged for offences related to the operation of a large-scale trafficking ring.
Supt Cottee said the prosecution of Marshall showed police would not tolerate “corrupt activity”.
“It reinforces the integrity of the police who are working on those matters,” he said.
“Clearly, if you are going to become involved in the supply of drugs there is every chance the activity will be detected and investigated.”
He said Marshall’s involvement was a shock and a disappointment.
“It’s a rarity, but it goes to show that drugs can touch anyone and that their addictive nature will impede proper judgment,” he said.
During Marshall’s sentencing, magistrate Tony Murray questioned a personal reference offered by Marshall’s wife, an Albury police officer.
Supt Cottee said the matter had been referred to him by Mr Murray.
“We can’t go into much detail ... we will deal with it in terms of our own proceedings,” he said.
Supt Cottee said Marshall’s wife, Kaija, serving as a general duties officer while the investigation into her husband was under way was a factor police “had to take into account”.
“Again, it shows the integrity of the police who were acting in relation to the investigation, that the investigation was at no time compromised,” Supt Cottee said.
“She was equally shocked and disappointed.”
Marshall, who was medically discharged in March last year, had been suffering post traumatic stress.
Supt Cottee said peer support officers were available at Albury for all serving officers, who may also be required to undergo periodic psychological assessment depending upon the unit they were assigned to.
But, he said, some officers can “slip through” the net and he urged police not to self-medicate.
“Drugs of addiction are a crime and we will continue to police that crime but they need to have faith and understand their condition has a medical element that requires treatment if addicted,” he said.
“I understand Mr Marshall has embarked on that process and I wish him well.”