QPS celebrates female trailblazers at International Women’s Day event

QPS award recipients including the winners and the highly commended

On Friday, March 8 members from the Queensland Police Service (QPS) joined staff from across the emergency services to participate in the fifth annual Public Safety International Women’s Day event.

The annual event celebrates the work of women across Queensland’s public safety and integrity agencies and provides an opportunity for staff to come together to network, learn raise awareness and recognise women’s achievements.

This year’s official host was the Public Safety Business Agency CEO Peter Griffin who welcomed the 800 attendees from across the portfolio agencies.

The event was attended by Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey as well as Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services Mark Ryan MP.

QPS Commissioner Ian Stewart, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Commissioner Katarina Carroll and Queensland Corrective Services Commissioner (QCS) Peter Martin were also in attendance.

This years attendees were encouraged to commit themselves to helping achieve balance and equality.

Keynote speakers at the event included the trailblazing Detective Superintendent Deborah Wallace of the New South Wales Police Force and former Australian Diamonds and Queensland Firebirds Captain Laura Geitz.

Detective Superintendent Wallace delivered a rousing address that was equal parts motivating and hilarious, having the audience in stitches for most of her 40 minute speech.

Laura Getiz recounted her rise to the top of Australian netball, detailing the obstacles and challenges she overcame to solidify her status as one of the most recognised and well regarded female role models in Australian sport.

Entertainment at the event was provided by the all female Centenary State High school A cappella group as well as students from the Mabel Park State School Drumline group.

A panel discussion between QFES Commissioner Carroll, QCS Commissioner Martin, Mayor of the Lockyer Valley Regional Council, Councillor Tanya Milligan and CEO of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland Antonia Mercorella shone a light on the career highs and lows of the participants.

The discussion highlighted the many different paths to success and how these leading figures triumphed over the various obstacles they encountered throughout their varied careers.

Next years IWD Public Safety event will be hosted by the Queensland Police Service with planning for the 2020 event to commence in the coming months.

As with every IWD event a number of award presentations to recognise the contribution of female staff members from across the public safety portfolios.

2019 Queensland Women in Policing Awards

11 awards for Women in Policing were presented to QPS staff as part of the day’s event.

Female police officers, staff members and a male officer were all awarded for their outstanding work within the QPS.

Leadership, mentoring and courage were recognised, while other awards focused on recognition of initiatives and research.

The awards winners were as follows:

Trailblazer Award

Recipient: Senior Sergeant Pamela Leech, Polair Queensland

Highly commended: Ms Yvonne Coustley and Senior Constable Deborah McDougall.

Senior Sergeant Leech with Commissioner Stewart

As one of the first female leaders in the national airborne law enforcement filed, Senior Sergeant Leech’s innovative and empowering approach has resulted in significant advancements for the QPS.

Mentor of the Year Award

Recipient: Inspector Brooke Dwyer

Inspector Dwyer

Inspector Dwyer has actively and intentionally championed the development and support of women and men in policing enhancing organisational capability.

Integrity and Courage Award

Attendees were encouraged to donate to the events charity partner, Hummingbird House which is Queensland’s only children’s house hospice. Over $30,000 was raised throughout the day.

Recipient: Detective Senior Constable Amanda Watt

Highly commended: Senior Constable Chonoea Davey

Detective Senior Constable Watt with Commissioner Stewart

Detective Senior Constable Watt has demonstrated the courage and integrity to challenge the accepted standards in corrections and influence cultural change not only within her own work unit but also within the prison environment.

Most Outstanding Female Leader Award

Recipient: Detective Inspector Sonia Smith

Highly commended: Inspector Julia Cook

DI Smith with Commissioner Stewart

Detective Inspector Smith epitomises today’s modern leader in law enforcement, with a refreshing style of leadership that has endeared her and the QPS to national and international audiences.

Most outstanding female investigator award

Recipient: Ms Adele Desirs

Highly commended: Plain Clothes Constable Kelsey Barker and Detective Sergeant Jeannie Murray

Ms Desirs with Commissioner Stewart

Ms Desirs proposes innovative methods to gather large amounts of material encountered on Darknet child abuse sites and has been responsible for solving a significant proportion of successful cases.

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Most outstanding female practitioner award

Recipient: Detective Sergeant Rima Seferonvic

Highly commended: Senior Sergeant Kylie Bruce and Senior Constable Regina Ernest

Detective Sergeant Seferonvic with Commissioner Stewart

Detective Sergeant Rima Seferonvic regularly and actively engages in the community including at school, cultural, community and religious events including in the Connected Women’s Program where she provides empowerment, crime prevention, leadership, self-esteems and violence prevention training to young and/or newly arrived Islamic women, drawing on her own experiences.

Most outstanding female administrator award

Recipient: Ms Michelle Davies

Highly commended: Senior Sergeant Mel Wilkins

Ms Davies with Commissioner Stewart

Ms Michelle Davies bring specialist knowledge and capability in project development and delivery providing the unit with capacity to deliver high-level strategic documents and operational advice which ultimately has influenced legislation, policy and policing practice.

Most outstanding female intelligence practitioner award

Recipient: Acting Inspector Deanne Steele

Highly commended: Senior Constable Danielle Ringuet

Acting Inspector Steele has shown dedication, commitment and professionalism in leading and managing the State Tasking and Coordination Project with a number of significant challenges for the organisation.

Excellence in law enforcement for women initiatives award

Recipient: Senior Constable Naomi Townsend

Highly commended: Senior Constable Alicia McKeering

Senior Constable Townsend with Commissioner Stewart

Senior Constable Townsend constantly provides a strong example of work ethic and dedication to her peers and junior staff and has engaged multiple strategies aimed towards improving law enforcement for women.

Excellence in research on improving law enforcement for women award

Recipient: Ms Michelle Hayes

Michelle Hayes with Commissioner Stewart

Michelle Hayes led a research initiative to validate and demonstrate the limitations in using Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking devices to enhance victim security in Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) situations enabling consideration to broader protection strategies.

Champion of change award

Recipients: Senior Sergeant Peta Jordan and Assistant Commissioner Mike Keating

Senior Sergeant Jordan has become a pioneer in changing the way the South Eastern Region does business in respect to flexible working arrangements, providing many female employees with opportunities they have previously had further enabling them to advance their careers.

Assistant Commissioner Keating has been a pioneer of change in an arena that has culturally been perceived as male-centric. Through his leadership he has encouraged positive career pathways and leadership development opportunities for women in the QPS.

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