Seven dedicated officers acknowledged with Australian Police Medal

Minister for Police and Corrective Services and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services The Honourable Mark Ryan

Minister for Police and Corrective Services and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services, the Honourable Mark Ryan MP and Commissioner Katarina Carroll today welcomed the announcement of the seven recipients from the Queensland Police Service (QPS) who will receive the Australian Police Medal (APM).

The QPS APM recipients model a great service to policing, having served across Queensland in various locations in varied roles.

This year the recipients from the QPS are Senior Sergeant Sean Baxendell, Detective Senior Sergeant Margaret Cassidy, Detective Senior Sergeant Daren Edwards, Chief Superintendent Brian Huxley, Detective Senior Sergeant Jillian McCarthy, Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Ralston and Sergeant Megan Ward.

All the recipients will be presented with their APM at an upcoming ceremony.

Minister Ryan said he was proud to recognise the seven officers who display courage, fairness and pride in all that they do for the Queensland community.

“The deserving APM recipients each have shown commitment and professionalism to all their duties,” Minister Ryan said.

“They have each provided dedicated and exemplary service to the QPS and the Queensland community, throughout their careers.

“I would like to congratulate them for receiving this high honour today.”

Commissioner Carroll said each of the APM recipients were awarded for their distinguished service and commitment to their roles.

“The Australian Police Medal is a fitting acknowledgment for the outstanding contribution given by these officers and recognition of their service to the community,” Commissioner Carroll said.

“Each of these officers were selected for their exceptional skills and leadership in their respective fields and truly model the QPS values in their everyday service.

“A sincere congratulations to each of the officers for being honoured with such a prestigious award.”

  • Senior Sergeant Sean Baxendell – Senior Sergeant Sean Baxendell commenced his career with the QPS in 1997. He was posted to Townsville after graduation where he served as a General Duties Officer. He then worked for four years at Collinsville, before undertaking training to become a Dog Squad Officer and commenced duties as a Dog Handler in 2001. In that role he responded to priority calls for assistance working with other frontline police officers in tracking and locating offenders. He has since continued his service in this field developing handlers and handling methods, focusing on animal welfare and undertaking mentoring and community work. He is currently the Officer in Charge of the Brisbane Dog Squad. Senior Sergeant Baxendell has provided dedicated and committed service to the QPS, and to the wider Queensland community for over 23 years.
  • Detective Senior Sergeant Margaret Cassidy – Detective Senior Sergeant Margaret Cassidy has served the QPS as an operational police officer for over 36 years with most of that time in operational positions. As the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Coordinator for the Ipswich District, she has worked tirelessly to achieve positive outcomes for vulnerable children and young people. In 2018 she was instrumental in introducing the Absent from Care Reduction Strategy Project to reduce preventable callouts by police to residential care facilities. The project saw immediate results including a reduction in children from out-of-home care being formally reported as a missing person, and a corresponding reduction in preventable calls for service and response in relation to missing person investigations. Detective Senior Sergeant Cassidy has been exemplary in the discharge of her duties above and beyond normal work throughout her extensive career with the QPS.
  • Detective Senior Sergeant Daren Edwards – Detective Senior Sergeant Daren Edwards commenced his policing career in the Northern Territory in 1986 and served in a range of investigative areas including the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) and the Serious Crime Squad and Tactical Intelligence Unit. He joined the QPS in 1995 and was seconded to the National Crime Authority in 1998 where he was engaged in high level targeting of international criminals involved in drug distribution and importation. From 2000 to 2011 he performed duties in the State Crime Operations Command. In 2011, he was promoted to the rank of Detective Senior Sergeant and then later that year, Officer in Charge of the Sunshine Coast CIB where he currently serves.
  • Chief Superintendent Brian Huxley – Chief Superintendent Brian Huxley commenced his service with the QPS in 1980 where he has contributed to policing, enhanced front-line practices, and demonstrated excellence in service delivery to the wider Queensland community throughout his 40-year career. From 1980 to 2009 he worked in various roles across Brisbane, Gold Coast and Ipswich including contributing to various programs including the Competency Acquisition Program, Investigation and Intelligence Training Program, Task Force Argos, and the Queensland Thoroughbred Racing Inquiry. In 2010 he was promoted to Superintendent and two years later was selected to contribute to the Public Sector Renewal Program. In 2016, he undertook the role of the Venue Commander during the G20 meeting, demonstrating superior operational and tactical leadership where he was directly responsible for Tier 2 operations. In 2017 he returned to Ipswich District where he was appointed District Officer before being promoted to Chief Superintendent, District Officer, Far North District in 2018.
  • Detective Senior Sergeant Jillian McCarthy – Detective Senior Sergeant Jillian McCarthy has served the QPS for over 25 years largely in criminal investigations roles. She is currently an operations leader within the Drug and Serious Crime Group where her operational management of investigations has resulted in improved reporting standards for matters of interest to both senior management and stakeholders. She has a proven commitment to continual learning and can develop and apply innovative strategies to progress investigative priorities. She is highly respected by her peers and colleagues for her dedication, attention to detail, investigative expertise and her commitment to staff. Detective Senior Sergeant McCarthy’s achievements and contributions to criminal investigations in Queensland has had a significant positive impact on the QPS and on the community, through the targeting, disruption and dismantling of organised crime syndicates.
  • Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Ralston – Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Ralston joined the QPS in 1988 and served over 20 years in an investigative role in the Criminal Investigation Branch and Child Protection and Investigation Unit. Recently, his work across multiple projects has been key to diverting vulnerable youth offenders from criminal behaviours and risk taking. His efforts and achievements were fundamental in the formation of the Logan Youth Co-Responder Program which was awarded for its success in the 2020 Child Protection Week awards. He is the core QPS representative in the South East Queensland Cross Agency Senior Leadership group which focus on collaboration in research, information sharing and cross agency case coordination for the Logan and South Brisbane areas. Detective Senior Sergeant Ralston has provided 33 years of dedicated service to the QPS, with his operational leadership and relationships with partners enhancing the reputation of the QPS focus on youth justice.
  • Sergeant Megan Ward – Sergeant Megan Ward has served as an operational police officer in the Queensland Police Service (QPS) for over 24 years. She has been pivotal in the development of robust QPS mental health responses in the Logan District. She has been at the forefront of police responses in the Logan District, taking on the role of Police Negotiator and District Negotiator Coordinator. Recently, she has further been pivotal to the development and implementation of a formal District Mental Health Intervention Coordinator (MHIC) role and has been the driving force in launching the District Mental Health Co-Responder project. She also developed the Mental Health Co-Responder model, a joint agency approach to on-the-ground service delivery. In 2020, she was promoted as the first officer to hold the new position of Sergeant, MHIC in the newly created Logan District Vulnerable Persons Unit. Sergeant Ward has been a long-standing dedicated advocate for improvement in mental health services for the community’s most vulnerable persons.

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