Acting Inspector Lisa Damman was inducted into the Queensland Police Service (QPS) more than 17 years ago. It was early in her career that she crossed paths with a remarkable and strong Aunty who, through sharing stories of overcoming trauma as part of the stolen generation, ignited her own passion for First Nations advocacy.
“Prior to Aunty’s passing I made a promise to her that I would never forget that she welcomed me into her life and trusted me enough to listen to her stories. It was this promise that has helped mould my career to what it has become today, and the reason I am so passionate about working with our First Nations peoples in these communities,” Acting Inspector Damman said.
With an initial one-year posting in Logan District, Acting Inspector Damman was transferred to Townsville, where her experience working with First Nations communities began and grew. After receiving her detective’s appointment on the Gold Coast in 2011, Acting Inspector Damman spent four years there before heading out to the regions. Spending time in Woorabinda, St George and Doomagee, a First Nations community more than 2,000 kms from Brisbane.
“I was the first female Officer in Charge (OIC) for Doomadgee and now proudly form part of a small group of female Senior Sergeants who have previously or currently work as OICs in remote Aboriginal communities.” she said.
Like so many regional police officers, Acting Inspector Damman became truly embedded in the communities she was working, further driving her passion and advocacy for supporting and strengthening the relationship between the QPS and First Nations communities.
“I encourage everyone to talk to the elders in our communities through community engagement and participation of events such as NAIDOC Week. Having empathy and understanding towards our First Nations people is the first step to maintaining good strong relationships when working in our communities,” she said.
“During my time in Woorabinda, St George and Doomadgee I met some remarkable Elders in the community who have openly shared their stories and culture with me.”
These relationships and understanding drove Acting Inspector Damman to develop a joint-agency community program in Woorabinda which used football as a means to connect with at-risk youth.
“The project provided opportunities to build positive relationships under a shared agenda. By founding a junior football team and providing support for two teams to enter the local Rockhampton Rugby League competition we created a sense of empowerment to the youths involved.”
When asked about this year’s NAIDOC Week theme ‘Heal Country!’ Acting Inspector Damman said, “It’s about seeing, hearing and land – respecting the First Nations history of this country. We all should stop and take time to celebrate that we have the oldest continuing culture that include Dreamtime stories which are the basis of Aboriginal lore and culture. For First Nations people, connection to Country is a central part of our collective cultural wellbeing, but also of our own individual health and wellbeing.”
Thinking back to the Aunty that started it all, Acting Inspector Damman had one thing to say: “I hope she is proud of the work I have achieved.”
Acting Inspector Damman is currently stationed in Police Headquarters on Jagera Country.
The QPS is proud to come together in celebration of the rich and diverse cultures of our First Nations communities for NAIDOC Week. We thank our First Nations members for sharing their stories.
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