From left: Public Advocate Colleen Pearce, Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton and Sergeant Tristan Snow, recipient of the community nominatd Public Advocate's Outstanding Service to People with Disability Award.
Public Advocate’s Outstanding Service to People with Disability Awards
The Public Advocate, Colleen Pearce, has recognised police officers demonstrating outstanding service to people with disability at an awards ceremony held at the World Trade Centre on Friday 2 December, 2016.
This year featured a new award, recognising exceptional leadership in support of Victorians with a disability – the Ben Bodna Award, named after Victoria’s first Public Advocate.
Overall Award – Ben Bodna Award – Melbourne North Police Station
The inaugural Ben Bodna Award was presented to Melbourne North Police Station for its exceptional support over the years to the Office of the Public Advocate, the Independent Third Person (ITP) program and Victoria Police communities.
Ms Pearce made special mention of Melbourne North station’s Sergeant Tony Richardson for his work in delivering ITP training, formally assessing ITP volunteers in the metropolitan area and ensuring the program keeps in place with police practice.
Community nominated Award – Sergeant Tristan Snow
Sergeant Tristan Snow, from Glen Waverley Police Station, was nominated by the mother of a now 12-year-old boy who from the age of nine had had frequent contact with the police due to behavioural challenges associated with his disability.
Sergeant Snow proactively worked with the boy, visiting him at home before there was a crisis and taking him on a tourof the Glen Waverley Police Station so other officers could meet him while he was calm.
Sergeant Snow’s actions have fundamentally changed the boy’s relationship with the police and led to an immediate and dramatic reduction in negative interactions. In addition, Sergeant Snow’s leadership has enabled colleagues to provide a more accessible, inclusive and responsive service to people with disability.
Police nominated Award – Senior Sergeant Nicole Williams
Senior Sergeant Nicole Williams, from Operational Systems Support Division, was nominated for her work on the organising committee for the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) a partnership between Special Olympics Victoria and Victoria Police.
Senior Sergeant Williams’ work through LETR has assisted potentially socially excluded people with intellectual disability participate in sport, and improved opportunities for hundreds of Special Olympics athletes.
Metropolitan station Award – Epping Police Station
Epping Police Station was nominated for constantly demonstration the ideals of the ITP program.
Police interviews often require people to comprehend complex issues and information quickly, understand their legal rights, and be able to communicate with people in positions of authority.
ITP volunteers attend police interviews with, and support and assist people with a cognitive impairment, to ensure they are not disadvantaged.
ITP volunteers noted Epping police officers will go out of their way to ensure people with a cognitive impairment are treated with respect and dignity. They fully support the ITP role as a necessary part of their policing, and ensure newer officers are aware of the role of ITPs in the policing process.
Rural station Award - Ararat Police Station
Ararat Police Station was nominated for making the ITP program an integral part of their policing.
In addition to always contacting an ITP if there is any suggestion a person being interviewed may have a cognitive impairment, Ararat police proactively sought to work with OPA to recruit additional ITPs, to reduce the workload of the sole ITP in the area.
• Sergeant Heath Merry, Sunbury Police
• Leading Senior Constable Janine Waker, Ballarat Police
• Detective Sergeant Tony Breen, Family Violence Command
• Mr Steve Mangion, Licensing and Regulation Division
• Constable Grant Sheedy, Drouin Police
• Senior Constable Andrew Loughard, Boroondara Police
• Senior Constable Ferdi Cokelek, Boroondara Police
• Financial Services Division
• Heidelberg Police Station