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Honest, ambitious cop farewelled

Honest, ambitious cop farewelled

Donna Howard’s casket being taken into the ceremony. PHOTO/SUPPLIED


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Donna Howard was 49. PHOTO/FILE

A dedicated policewoman whose bright future was cut short was farewelled at a large ceremony at Porirua’s police college yesterday.

Wairarapa’s area commander Inspector Donna Howard died last Tuesday aged 49 after a brief battle with cancer.

Yesterday she was remembered for her honesty, empathy, great sense of humour, and her ability to set high goals and achieve them.

Hundreds of friends, family and police colleagues gathered in the college’s gym to share their memories.

Among them was close friend Taryn Ryan, who met Ms Howard at a gym where Miss Ryan was a personal trainer.

She said that not long after they met, Ms Howard was already giving her tips on what exercises she could offer in her training sessions with clients.

Ms Howard was brutally honest, and always enjoyed being right – “and she usually was” – Miss Ryan said.

“She liked to put on a tough act, but she was really a softy.

“She gave me the courage to step up and strive for things that I couldn’t do in the past.”

Ms Howard served in the police force for 27 years, and took up her role in Wairarapa in early 2016.

After her early years in the organised crime unit of the Criminal Investigation Branch, she was promoted to detective sergeant.

She served in the Solomon Islands and East Timor, and was promoted to detective senior sergeant and crime strategy manager.

In early 2014, she became an Inspector in the professional standards group at Police National Headquarters.

Acting Wairarapa Area Commander Detective Inspector Scott Miller said Ms Howard’s opinions never got in the way of the encouragement she gave her staff.

“She empowered them to make their own decisions . . . she was always there for her staff.

“There were so many things she did for us and no one will know how much she did behind the scenes.”

He remembered her sense of humour, thinking of the time when she had a photo of Carlos Spencer on her desk.

She would “have a few words” to him at the start and end of the day, he laughed.

“She would often speak about her struggles to keep her inner voice to herself . . . she had strong opinions and never backed down.”

Gary Howard also spoke of his younger sister on behalf of the family.

Ms Howard’s much-loved dog, Sam, sat at the front of ceremony.

Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott, and the region’s three mayors also attended the funeral.

The final farewell as Donna Howard was driven down the police college’s main entrance. PHOTO/SUPPLIED