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Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland

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21 October, 2020

Longreach Police officers awarded for service to region

THE Longreach Patrol Group of the Queensland Police Service held its annual medal and award ceremony on October 8, commemorating the arduous and sustained service undertaken by regional officers.

By Hamish Hart

Held at Rosebank Station, a homestead situated 10km outside Longreach on Wellshot Creek, officers from the Longreach, Winton, Aramac, Barcaldine, Yaraka and Alpha divisions were in attendance to honour the exemplary service shown by their fellow officers.

Assistant Commissioner of Southern Queensland, Mike Condon, was called on by master of ceremonies, Inspector Julia Cook, to present the distinction awards.

Established in 2010, the National Police Service Medal (NPSM) recognises the special status that sworn police officers have in protecting the community, and represents their past and future commitment to enforcing ethical and diligent service.

Recipients of the NPSM were Sergeant Melissa Baird (Longreach Disaster Management Support Officer); Sergeant Benjamin Lavington (Winton); Senior Constable Paul Jackson (Aramac) and Senior Constable Natalie Timar (Barcaldine).

All four officers were also awarded the National Medal and Queensland Police Service Medal (QPSM).

Introduced in 1999, the QPSM recognises an officer’s decade of ethical service, with an additional clasp being awarded to recipients every five years.

Recipients of the QPSM were Inspector Julia Cook (Longreach, 30 years); Sergeant Brian Smith (Alpha, 30 years); Detective Sergeant Alan Cook (Major and Organised Crime Squad, 25 years); Detective Sergeant Brett Long (Criminal Investigation, 25 years); civilian Carolyne Gribble (Barcaldine, 15 years); Senior Constable Bede Little (Longreach, 10 years) and civilian Joanne Wyton (Longreach, 10 years).  

Special awards were also presented to officers and staff for their commitment to maintaining the safety of the community during life-threatening situations.

Senior Constable Robert Edwards (Windorah) was awarded an Assistant Commissioners Certificate for his role in rescuing a man and his dog during a rain event in Cooper Creek on April 2.

According to Inspector Cook, it was “a six-hour operation, much of it conducted in total darkness.”

Acting Senior Sergeant Alastair McPhee (Longreach) and Senior Constable Keiran Turner (Yaraka) were both awarded District Officer certificates “for providing professionalism and dedication to duty under extremely confronting circumstances.”

Both officers worked tirelessly at the scene of a gyrocopter crash at a station near Yaraka on June 22 where a 26-year-old pilot was killed.

Senior Sergeant McPhee worked at the scene for up to 10 hours before relaying the death notice to the victim’s family, while Senior Constable Turner conducted his duties for 10 hours with the upmost diligence and professionalism despite being a close friend of the victim.

Joanne Wyton and Emma Elliott (Longreach) were also presented awards for their “outstanding dedication and commitment to the newly-implemented police housing arrangement.”

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, newly-instated Constables Alexandra Kemp and Carien Peuscchers (Longreach) were unable to receive their Certificates of Appointment which were effective from March 20.

However, the new recruits were presented with their official certificates at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Inspector Cook said the award ceremony was a wonderful opportunity to recognise police for the job they do in the community.

She said she was very proud of their achievements and resilience during challenging and traumatic circumstances.

Longreach Regional Council Mayor, Tony Rayner, said it was a great honour to attend the presentation and witness a number of officers honoured for their dedication to the region.

“Police officers undertake a challenging job in dealing with complex, and at times, very stressful incidents which require staff to be empathetic but also professional under difficult circumstances,” Cr Rayner said.

“Three of our regional Queensland Police staff were recognised for this professionalism and dedication following recent tragedies and natural disasters.

“Our regional towns are blessed to have a group of police who are proud to do their best at all times and are very much part of our local communities.”

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