Posted on 18th July 2018
It was a night of double celebration last night as the latest class of Special Constables marked the start of their service – with a proposal at the attestation ceremony!
Special Constable Owen Palfreyman popped the question to his partner of two-and-a-half years, Jess Goodman, in front of his fellow volunteer police officers.
Owen, who is a full-time carer to Jess, decided the attestation was the perfect place to get down on one knee but wasn’t sure exactly how it was going to go.
The 22-year-old from Chesterfield said: “I made up my mind a month ago that I was going to do it on the day of the attestation. “However, I still hadn’t made my mind up exactly where it was going to happen until just before I did it!
“It went absolutely perfectly.”
Owen previously worked as a barman at Beach Bar and Groove in Chesterfield until doctors diagnosed 23-year-old Jess with supraventricular tachycardia - a serious heart condition that means Jess’s heart rate can suddenly increase causing her to faint.
Owen, who lives in Chesterfield, said: “Jess had suffered with fainting fits all through her life but as her condition got worse she had to leave work and couldn’t do exercise.
“I had to leave my job to become a full time carer for Jess. It’s been a massive lifestyle change for us both – for instance Jess can’t take a shower any more so I have wash her hair for her now.
“It has made a massive different to our day-to-day lives but it is a decision I would make again in a heartbeat.”
Owen’s eventual aim is to become a full-time police officer as Jess’s condition is tackled with medication – but is looking forward to starting his role as a Special and find out what the job demands.
He said: “The hope now is that the SVT is controlled with drugs that allow Jess to go back to work and I will be able to hopefully start as a full-time police officer.
“I’m really looking forward to learning about the job and serving at Clay Cross with the rest of the team.”
And there is of course the small matter of the engagement, Owen said: “The next thing we have to do is organise an engagement party – which we are both really excited about!”
Owen and Jess were congratulated by the other 16 Special Constables and their family and friends who were celebrating their attestation at Derbyshire police’s headquarters on Tuesday.
After completing an 11-week training course, the specials took their oaths in front of Justice of the Peace Barbara Richardson, Assistant Chief Constable Paul Gibson and Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Kevin Gillott, and were presented with a course certificate and their warrant card.
Each special constable was introduced by trainer Constable Gemma Roberts in front of their proud loved ones, senior officers and special inspectors and sergeants in their area that attended to welcome them into the force.
Each of the new special constables offers unique skills to policing, their ages vary and they come from a variety of different backgrounds including butchery, construction, engineering and retail.
Assistant Chief Constable Paul Gibson said: "Becoming a special constable brings with it the promise of being involved in something exciting, worthwhile and making a real difference in the local community as well as having the chance to learn new skills.
"They have been put through their paces by the training team and their unique skills have served them well and will continue to help them in their policing careers. I have no doubt they will make a significant contribution to policing in Derbyshire.
“I would also like to say a huge congratulations to both Owen and Jess. On behalf of the whole force I wish you both a lifetime of happiness. I’m sure, Owen, you will make both a brilliant member of our policing team as well as a fantastic husband.”
The new recruits have learnt about basic law around theft, public order, assaults, traffic, powers of arrest and stop and search. Each officer went through a rigorous selection process and had to pass a final exam and practical assessments to enable them to qualify for the role of special constable.
Special constables are volunteer police officers. They have the same police powers, uniforms and equipment as regular police officers but give their free time on a voluntary basis, organising their busy personal lives, day jobs and other commitments around police duties.