Some arrested drug dealers, and pinned down armed robbers in hostile situations, while other officers homed in on sex abusers, or performed CPR to save lives of victims.
It was this dedication, commitment and swift action that was the common theme among those recognised at a special awards ceremony for New England police in Inverell.
New England Superintendent Scott Tanner and Western Region Commander and Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie presented upward of 30 awards and commendations for commitment and dedication for going above and beyond.
Officers of Strike Force ANSAE, Detective Sergeant Matthew Crotty; and Detective Senior Constables Casey McDonald, Mark Symons, Leah Harman, and Matthew Robertson; and Detective Sergeant Mark Garvey, were awarded a citation for commitment.
The highly-effective investigation targeted two offenders involved in the ongoing supply of MDMA, amphetamines, cocaine and cannabis in the Armidale area, which led to the seizure of drugs and cash, and serious criminal charges.
Strike Force commitment
Detective Senior Constable Travis Murdock was awarded a District Commander's Commendation for dedication to duty with his work in Strike Force FLAIR. During 2013, historic sexual assaults were referred to Armidale police for investigation by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to child sexual abuse.
A two-year investigation led to two offenders charged with over 60 offences. Murdock's passion and sensitivity towards victims encouraged others to come forward and share their stories.
Senior Constable Matthew Robertson was honoured with a commendation for courage and dedication shown, as the first officer on scene, for holding four offenders armed with a knife and sharpened lengths of timber at bay until back-up arrived in October 2015.
The four offenders had entered Domino's Pizza at an Armidale shopping complex where they threatened staff and demanded money. Detective Senior Constable Casey McDonald and Senior Constable Paul Yewdall received certificates of merit for using swift action to force entry into the back entrance premises and back up Robertson.
Officers of Strike Force INGA were awarded the District Commander's Unit Citation for their investigation into a series of armed robberies around Armidale in September 2015.
The first arrest occurred in late September and by October 8 the violent offences had been brought to an end. Officers involved were: Detective Sergeant Matthew Crotty; and Detective Senior Constables Casey McDonald, Mark Symons, Leah Harman, and Matthew Robertson, and Senior Constable Paul Yewdall.
Detective Senior Constable Graeme Campbell was honoured for his efforts with Strike Force Durkin, established to locate and arrest dangerous offender, Malcolm Naden, who was on the run for six years after committing murder, an indecent assault and wounding a police officer.
Recognition for going above and beyond
Senior Constable Daniel Swadling and Probationary Constable Mekalah Dillon were first on scene of a crash where a motorcyclist collided with a power pole at Inverell on November 2018. Senior Constable Swadling and Probationary Constable Dillon performed CPR before the arrival of paramedics. They have been awarded for their actions.
Along with Sergeant Andrew McKay, Senior Constable Bradley Fuller, attended an incident in Avern Street Inverell in October 2018 where an offender barricaded himself into the premises and refused to communicate with police.
Fuller used his initiative to resolve the situation by forcing entry into the premises, apprehending the offender and charging him without further harm. He was awarded a commendation for professionalism.
Constable Samuel Murray was also awarded for his efforts in apprehending a domestic violence offender, who broke free of custody in Moree, on December 10, 2018. Constable Murray pursued the man on foot through streets and backyards. During the pursuit, he was bitten by a dog which later required stitches but continued his pursuit before he apprehended and arrested the man.
Detective Senior Constable Bradley Beddoes was honoured for his professionalism and dedication displayed during an arrest of an offender in Strike Force BYATT. As the sole negotiator he controlled a peaceful resolution of the situation without risk of injury to police and others.
Detective Sergeant Brent Falkiner received a District Commander's Commendation for his leadership during Strike Force BYATT. His commitment was displayed from the beginning of the investigation through to the trial and conviction of the accused.
'Professionalism' in high-risk arrests
Detective Senior Constable Rebecca Peachey and Detective Leading Senior Constable Matthew Steff were recognised for professionalism to duty shown during high volatile situation during an arrest of an offender on May 28, 2015.
Leading Senior Constable Bradley Neppl and Probationary Constable Nicholas Currie were acknowledged for their assistance in performing CPR on a 74-year-old woman at a home at Moree on July 30, 2017. The actions of these two officers helped save this woman's life.
Senior Constable Aaron Unicomb was among the award recipients; it was his life-saving efforts that helped resuscitate a 47-year-old man, who was unconscious and not breathing at Coonabarabran in February 2016.
Senior Constable Rowland and Constable Benjamin Stanley were acknowledged for their actions to assist a woman suffering a cardiac arrest in Boggabilla on March 8, 2017. The officers provided CPR until paramedics arrived and took over. The officers also assisted with roads blocks on the way to Goondiwindi hospital.
Mark Robertson and Dan Stewart were honoured for the quick actions that saved the lives of those involved in a serious motor vehicle accident on the Carnarvon Highway, south of Mungindi.
Robertson and Stewart witnessed the crash in November 2014. They stopped, contacted 000 and rushed to the aid of persons trapped in the vehicle. As the engine caught fire, the two extinguished the blaze and moved the injured to safety.
Chief Inspector Rowan O'Brien presented an inaugural award called the 'Tanner Cup' for a person in the police district who contributes outstanding service. The first recipient was Superintendent Scott Tanner.
Long service awards
Other National Police Service Medal, National Medal and NSW Police Medal recipients included:
- Sergeant Matthew Howarth- National Police Service Medal and National Medal for 15 years service.
- Sergeant Mary Tanner- National Police Service Medal, National Medal and first clasp of NSW Police Medal for 15 years service.
- Detective Senior Constable Graeme Campbell- National Police Service Medal, National Medal and NSW Police Medal.
- Detective Senior Constable Matthew Robertson- National Police Service Medal, the National Medal and first clasp of the NSW Police Medal for 15 years service.
- Detective Senior Constable Mark Symons- National Police Medal and National Medal for 15 years service.
- Senior Constable Christopher Cody- National Police Service Medal and National Medal for 15 years service.
- Former Senior Constable Matthew Cribb- National Police Service Medal for 15 years service.
- Senior Constable Bradley Fuller- National Police Service Medal and National Medal for 15 years service.
- Senior Constable David Gayner- National Police Service Medal, National Medal and first clasp to NSW Police Medal for 15 years.
- Senior Constable John Geere- National Police Service Medal and National Medal for 15 years service.
- Senior Constable Christopher Smith- National Police Service Medal, National Medal and first clasp to the NSW Police Medal for 15 years service.
- Senior Constable Sarah Voigt- National Police Service Medal, National Medal and first clasp to the NSW Police Medal for 15 years.
- National Medal for 15 years: Detective Senior Constable Bradley Beddoes and Senior Constable Colin Bird.
- NSW Police Medal for 10 years service: Leading Senior Constable Kelli Hall, Detective Senior Constable Michael Aslin, Senior Constable Donna Broad, Senior Constable Rachel Osborne.
- Second clasp to the National Medal and fifth clasp to the NSW Police Medal for 35 years of service: Senior Constable Howards Jones.
- Fourth clasp to the NSW Police Medal for 30 years service: Chief Inspector Rowan O'Brien.
- Receiving the first clasp to the National Medal for 25 years service: Superintendent Scott Tanner and Sergeant Simon Meehan.
- Receiving the first clasp to the National Medal and the third Clasp to the NSW Police Medal: Sergeant Stuart Gray.
- NSW Police Medallion:10 years- Melinda Brown. 25 years- Margaret Green, 20 years- Kylie Von Drehnen and Sue Reynolds.
- Warrants of Appointment- Detective Sergeant Bennet Nolan, Sergeant Darrin Bartrim, Sergeant Matthew Howarth, Sergeant Stephen James.
- Long service: 25 years- Margaret Green.