Today marks a special day for the 20 police officers of Course 55 who graduated at the South Australia Police (SAPOL) Academy.
Course 55 is diverse with members ranging in age from 21 and 48 years and with previous employment experience from industries including retail, veterinary, communications, pest control, community education, youth work, trades (electrician), health and hairdressing. Additionally, several members were previously Police Security Officers at SAPOL with one member having served as a military medic with the South African Military.
Seven graduating members will be posted to regional locations including Port Augusta, Port Pirie, Whyalla and Mount Gambier.
Course 55 members coordinated blood donations with Police Academy staff, organised Christmas food for the Foodbank and participated in the Pride March.
One graduate is Tony, who previously worked in the field of security and data communications. Prior to joining SAPOL, he volunteered with a local club of artistic blacksmiths which he says prepared him well with communicating and engaging with a wide range of people in the community.
Tony found the Academy course experience challenging but rewarding, with his exam results substantially improving throughout the duration of the course. He also made lifelong friendships in the process.
“The academic expectation is of a very high level and coming from a trade background, I did not have any study methods to address this. My course mentors were a wealth of knowledge and support in developing a method that was tailor made for my needs”, said Tony.
Highlights of Tony’s Academy experience include driver training, Public Order Management training and assisting his peers with driver training, while they helped Tony with academic skills.
Tony is being posted to the Northern District and one day hopes to join the Mounted Operations Unit.
His advice to those considering a policing career is to prepare your home life to accommodate after hours study (which will also prepare you for the shift work), keep a level head and plan for down time.
Another graduate is Sophia, who was a veterinary nurse before joining SAPOL. Sophia said this experience set her up for a policing career as it gave her an ability to juggle an intense workload while maintaining professionalism and empathy for the animals in her care.
Sophia was drawn to the diversity of policing, having made two attempts before her application was successful.
“I liked the concept of variety in every shift and the dynamics of each tasking we would attend. The diversity offered in the roles at SAPOL was also very appealing,” said Sophia.
Sophia initially found the driver training challenging and sought extra assistance within her team. As a result, Sophia’s confidence and skills improved.
Reflecting on how the training experience has changed her, Sophia says she has become more observant of people’s behaviour and developed more resilience in her personal and professional approaches.
Sophia is also being posted to the Northern District and hopes to one day join a specialist section where she can work in the area of family violence or victim management.
Sophia’s advice to those thinking of applying is to speak to other police officers to understand the role and what is physically and emotionally required. Sophia also recommends allocating time to study efficiently for exams and to understand what learning techniques work for you.
SAPOL is currently recruiting and is keen to hear from people from all walks of life to join the 6500 strong workforce at SAPOL. To make the application process easier, SAPOL has implemented a range of initiatives – including the transition to an online application process and covering the cost of the SAPOL TAFE recruitment test (for a limited time only).
If you’re looking for job security, career progression pathways and a chance to make a real difference in local communities please visit https://www.police.sa.gov.au/join-us
Image above: Sophia and Tony