Pilbara officers awarded Australian Police Medals
Two Pilbara police officers have been recognised for their years of hard work and dedication to both the force and their local communities with a prestigious national award.
Sergeant Kylie Simmonds from the Pilbara District Office in Karratha and Senior Sergeant Mark Fleskens from Newman have received the Australian Police Medal, which was awarded to only four officers WA-wide on Australia Day.
Sgt Simmonds started off as a constable in Broome in 1999, worked as a detective in organised crime and transferred to the coronial investigation unit in 2011, where she worked on the MH17 case.
She moved to the Pilbara district as a staff officer in 2016 and has demonstrated her commitment to the community through her work as a foster carer, having had 13 children in her care since arriving in Karratha.
“As a police officer I see a lot of child abuse, neglect and domestic violence,” she said.
“Those kids just need care, a stable home environment and a lot of love; I like being able to show them life is great and there are so many opportunities for them.”
Her role as a staff officer sees her supporting the superintendent, the inspectors and the officer-in-charge across the various Pilbara stations.
“The reason I joined the police was to help people and that’s evolved over the years,” she said.
“People often need police in a crucial moment in their lives, so I want be as kind and helpful as I can, and I hope that makes just a tiny bit of difference in someone’s life.”
Pilbara district Superintendent Paul Coombes said Kylie had a unique ability to connect with people.
“There is nothing forced about it, she offers support and empathy and always knows the right thing to ask or say,” he said.
“She is an outstanding individual and I’ve already told her wherever I go next she is coming with me.”
Sen. Sgt Fleskens moved to Newman in 2017 as the officer-in-charge and has been doing great work with the indigenous community.
He has moved away from traditional enforcement to focus on community engagement programs for youth and says the Martu are a fantastic group of people.
“They are striving to make a difference,” he said.
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