NAIDOC Week Spotlight - Acting Sergeant Laurie Bateman

"It doesn't matter what hat you're wearing; you can help people as long as you have the right attitude and intentions," says Acting Sergeant Laurie Bateman.

Kamilaroi man A/Sgt Bateman has worn several hats during his working life, and the desire to help people is common to each role.

A third-generation sheep shearer, he spent over two decades following the family tradition and earned a Guinness World Record along the way.

While mentoring disengaged First Nations youths in the art of shearing, he discovered his calling to help others.

Ten years ago, his passion for his community and culture inspired a career change, and so he began his career with the Queensland Police Service (QPS), initially as a Police Liaison Officer (PLO) in Cunnamulla.

After five years as a PLO, continuing his commitment to helping others, he became a Queensland police officer, completing both the Indigenous Recruit Police Program (now the First Nations Recruit Preparation Pathway) and the mainstream Recruit Training Program, and graduating from the QPS Academy in Townsville.

"Being a police officer is a huge honour, and I have achieved more than I thought I would," he said.

"I have felt supported by the Service's huge team of people ready to get behind a good idea, enabling me to implement positive changes that help people."

After his initial years as a General Duties officer, he worked in specialist units, including Crime Prevention, and is currently making a positive impact through his challenging and rewarding role managing the Palm Island PCYC in North Queensland.

No stranger to community programs, A/Sgt Bateman was instrumental in establishing the Blue Light Shearing Program during his time as a PLO after seeing the positive shift in mindset and behaviour in the at-risk youths he mentored.

A/Sgt Bateman appears in the TV series Our Law, which highlights the importance of strong role models, particularly those with shared cultural understanding.

The series is testimony to his ability to break down barriers, build relationships, and create positive change.

"It is important for the community to have realistic role models," he said.

"Young people in First Nations communities look up to First Nations members who are doing well - if that is as a police officer, then that is a positive role model for them.

"It's essential that we continue to increase First Nations representation so that the Service reflects the communities we serve across Queensland.

"Being an Aboriginal police officer in an Aboriginal community is great; understanding culture is paramount to building trust, breaking down barriers and making change."

A/Sgt Laurie Bateman

A/Sgt Bateman's passion for community and culture extends past policing. A keen collector of camp ovens, he became aware of cultural artefacts being removed from their place of origin and for sale in vintage shops.

"Many objects scattered across the landscape hold cultural significance and must be left in place," explained A/Sgt Bateman.

"I am collaborating on a series of booklets for the 77 shires across Queensland to create awareness that these artefacts are protected under various laws to preserve cultural heritage and respect First Nations communities."

The return of objects and ancestors that have been removed from First Nations communities over the past 300 years is profoundly powerful.

It plays a role in cultural revival as the spirit of those who once owned the objects remains connected to them.

Although A/Sgt Bateman is currently on Palm Island in Queensland's north, his heart remains connected to the place where he grew up, in the state's southwest.

"Down the track, my wife and I plan to return to our small hometown of Bollon and set up a First Nations restaurant with a cultural menu," he said.

But for now, Acting Sergeant Laurie Bateman continues to inspire through his dedication to positive change and leadership, both within the Queensland Police Service and beyond.

If you want to bring your passion for shaping the future to a role in the Queensland Police Service, learn more about the First Nations Recruit Preparation Pathway here or take our eligibility test to start your application now.

A career within the Queensland Police Service is like no other. From protecting, responding, and investigating, to supporting, rescuing and learning – the sheer variety of roles make it both a challenging and rewarding career.

As a police officer, you can have one career that has endless possibilities. Now really is the best time to join.

Visit to kickstart your policing career and make a positive impact in your community.

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