Exceptional Pilbara police officers honoured

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Karratha police volume crime team officers Senior Constable Melissa O’Keeffe and Constable Russell Churchley, pictured, along with colleague Senior Constable Jason Radley, each received a Superintendent’s Commendation for their work in the community.
Camera IconKarratha police volume crime team officers Senior Constable Melissa O’Keeffe and Constable Russell Churchley, pictured, along with colleague Senior Constable Jason Radley, each received a Superintendent’s Commendation for their work in the community. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

Four of Pilbara District Police’s finest have been recognised with awards before the deputy WA Police Commissioner and their peers this month.

At an annual conference for the region’s officers-in-charge on Wednesday, March 14, Exmouth police officer-in-charge Sergeant Paul World was presented with a highly commended award for having made the top 10 of the WA Police Excellence Awards’ individual officer category last year for his work to reduce crime, especially drug offences, in the town.

Pilbara District Police Superintendent Paul Coombes said Sgt World and the rest of the station’s officers had been achieving great results.

“He has made a fantastic impact not only in regards to policing, but also in regard to the town,” he said.

Sgt World said Exmouth police had started their anti-drug push in response to community feedback and were glad their work was making an impact.

“When I first arrived in Exmouth we did a community survey in regards to what their main social issues were, and it came back unanimously that it was drug issues,” he said.

“So we made drug issues sort of a community focus, and it’s escalated from there to the point now where we’ve restored community confidence with police being able to tackle the drug issues in town and the Shire of Exmouth has jumped on board.”

“Now we’ve got a whole-of-community approach to tackling drug issues, not just as far as the law and order side goes, but we’ve also got a working group together bringing the Health Department, Education Department and whole community together to try and tackle the issues in Exmouth around drugs.”

Karratha police’s three-person volume crime team — Senior Constable Melissa O’Keeffe, Senior Constable Jason Radley and Constable Russell Churchley — were also presented with a Superintendent’s Commendation for their work in addressing burglary, stealing and graffiti in the Karratha area.

Sen. Const. O’Keeffe said the volume crime team’s role involved a lot of behind-the-scenes work, especially with juvenile offenders and other community agencies.

“There’s been hard work and a lot of time and effort put into (what are) sometimes rewarding experiences, and others not so much,” she said.

“I think the significance (of this award) is in feeling recognised so you feel like all your hard work and your extra time are worth it.”

Sen. Const. O’Keeffe was also acknowledged for 20 years of service with the WA Police.

The two-day police conference held in Karratha was attended by Deputy Commissioner Gary Dreibergs, the Pilbara District Police leadership team and officers-in-charge from every sub-district station in the region.

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