Seven dedicated officers acknowledged with Australian Police Medal 26 January

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 congratulated seven officers from the Queensland Police Service (QPS) who will receive the Australian Police Medal (APM).

Introduced in 1986, the APM is awarded for distinguished service by a member of an Australian police agency.

Recipients are announced twice a year, on Australia Day and on the Queen’s birthday, based on nominations put forward by the Commissioner of each jurisdiction.

Commissioner Carroll said each of the APM recipients demonstrated the exemplary attributes of a QPS officer and she recognised their commitment to their roles.

“The Australian Police Medal is a fitting acknowledgment of each recipient’s outstanding contribution and dedication to serving Queensland,” Commissioner Carroll said.

“The recipients personify our QPS values and are committed to their duties and keeping the Queensland community safe.

“I would like to congratulate and give my personal thanks to each of them.”

Minister Ryan said the officers shared a diverse and experienced policing history, having served throughout Queensland in several different roles and areas.

“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.”

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

This year the recipients from the QPS are:

  • Assistant Commissioner Brian Connors has been a member of the QPS for 35 years and is currently the Assistant Commissioner of the North Coast Region. His policing career began in Mackay and Cairns as a general duties officer. In 1990, he became a Plain Clothes Constable, working in the Cairns Criminal Investigation Branch and Drug Squad. On promotion to Detective Sergeant in 1996, he worked in the Bureau of Criminal Intelligence and the Organised Crime Squad. In 2010 he was promoted to Superintendent and became a leader to 600 QPS members across Cairns and Cape York areas as the District Officer. During the summer of 2010-11, he built community resilience and directly supported his community after Tropical Cyclones Oswald and Yasi. In 2019, Assistant Commissioner Connors was appointed as the Commander of the Specialist Response Group and enhanced business continuity planning for Specialist Response Group units with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Inspector Michael Dowie has been a member of the QPS for 40 years and is currently serving as a Patrol Inspector in the Capricornia District, based in Rockhampton. He has undertaken a range of frontline policing duties across the state and been pivotal in a number of high profile investigations into serious and organised crime. Inspector Dowie led the investigation into an unsolved 1974 triple murder, resulting in the 2017 conviction of two offenders on charges of murder. He has gained a well-earned reputation as a tenacious investigator who is mindful of the needs of victims and the need to maintain a safe and harmonious community. His achievements in establishing positive relationships with leaders of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities has been outstanding. In 2012, he led the response to catastrophic flooding event in Charleville and the surrounding district, enacting measures to evacuate more than 500 residents.
  • Assistant Commissioner Kath Innes has been a member of the QPS for 29 years and currently leads the Crime and Intelligence Command. Assistant Commissioner Innes has worked through a vast range of policing areas including operational and corporate roles during her career. She obtained her Detective Appointment in 1997 and performed investigative duties in a Juvenile Aid Bureau, a Criminal Investigation Branch and at State Crime Operations Command. Promoted to Chief Superintendent in 2019, she began duty as the state’s most senior detective in the role of Operations Commander, State Crime Command. As Assistant Commissioner, she has raised the profile of the Command, forging strong relationships with the regions and districts, and implementing objectives to prevent, disrupt, respond and investigate crime using high level intelligence products. Her personal drive and wealth of experience in both the crime and intelligence sectors has enhanced service delivery and assistance to frontline police.
  • Senior Sergeant Peter McFarlane has been a member of the Service for 30 years and is currently serving as the Officer in Charge of the Emerald Police Station. He has dedicated his career to frontline policing in regional and rural areas across the state, serving in Cairns, Cooktown, Tannum Sands, Gladstone and Toowoomba. Senior Sergeant McFarlane is a very active member of the Central Highlands Disaster Management Group where he represents the District Disaster Coordinator, during emergencies such as floods, cyclones, bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to his excellent working relationship with large-scale company managers and owners, he seamlessly managed the local arrival of offshore fruit pickers into Emerald and ensured all conditions and restrictions were adhered to and complied with. In recognition of his professionalism and enthusiasm, his peers recently elected him to the chair of the ‘Senior Officers Network’ for the Central Highlands area.
  • Senior Sergeant Craig Shepherd has been a member of the QPS for 31 years and is currently the Officer in Charge (OIC) of the Bowen Police Station. He has served in various stations across the state, including remote Cooyar, Mitchell and Mount Isa, as well as the Public Safety Response Team and the Railway Squad. In 2011, he was promoted to the Disaster Management Support Officer/Tactician in Mount Isa. Appointed as the Operations Coordinator after an offender detonated an Improvised Explosive Device killing himself and two children in 2015, he coordinated a multi-agency response including planning, logistics, welfare and media management under difficult conditions. In 2016 he was transferred to the position of OIC at Bowen. In this role he has demonstrated excellent leadership during disaster events, operational challenges and critical incidents, including Tropical Cyclone Debbie in 2017, which saw the mandatory evacuation of 7,000 residents from storm surge zones
  • Senior Sergeant Heather Wallace has been a member of the QPS for 24 years and was recently appointed to the role of Senior Sergeant, Officer in Charge of the Caboolture Watchhouse. Initially serving as a general duties officer, she commenced her investigative career in 2002 at the Petrie Juvenile Aid Bureau. She achieved her Detective Appointment in 2007 and went on to serve for 15 years as an investigator in the field of child protection. During this time, she also worked in the Child Protection Offender Registry and the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect, Youth Justice and Child Abuse Team. In 2017, she commenced service at Normanton as a Sergeant, General Duties Shift Supervisor, where she made significant contributions to her community. She was instrumental in creating and fostering a range of programs to enhance law enforcement, community engagement, acceptance of diversity and inclusiveness of all members of the Gulf community.
  • Senior Sergeant Jim Whitehead has been a member of the QPS for 39 years and is currently serving as the State Search and Rescue Coordinator and Training Officer at the Water Police Group in Brisbane. Senior Sergeant Whitehead served as a general duties officer in various stations across the state, including Southport, lnala, Rathdowney, Longreach and Julia Creek. Throughout his service, working in Search and Rescue (SAR) positions, he has personally coordinated or provided advice in more than 15,000 SAR incidents, resulting in the recovery of over 22,000 people reported as lost or missing. In addition, he developed the Queensland SAR System, created national training packages for SAR Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses and facilitated training for numerous SAR courses within Australia and Internationally. He created the Australian Lost Person Behaviour Database (online) which provides better success rates for SAR incidents. His involvement in major SAR incidents include providing advice for the MH370 plane crash, the Daniel Morcombe search, and the 2010/11 Queensland flood events.

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