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Be bold for change - SAPOL celebrates International Women's Day

SAPOL embraces the #BeBoldForChange theme of the 2017 International Women's Day, and as part of our commitment to acknowledging and celebrating the role and achievements of women, we continue the tradition of sharing first hand stories of female officers - this time of three probationary constables.

Pamela’s story

Probationary Constable Pamela

Prior to joining SAPOL I was a school teacher at mainly private schools. I loved teaching and still miss the faces of some very memorable students.

I have always wanted to be a police officer; although through some family conversations around the topic, I was encouraged to initially move into the teaching pathway.

Then I had one of those trigger points in life where I got breast cancer. I survived that scare and then decided to follow my heart and change my path in life. I have always admired the men and women in policing and saw them as people who were brave, empathetic, driven and challenged themselves.

So I joined SAPOL and have enjoyed the journey immensely so far. Initially I was a bit nervous about the fitness test as I did not consider myself athletic or physically blessed with long legs or strong shoulders. I asked for help from the trainers at the Academy for techniques as to how to climb the fences, which really helped me. I also asked a course mate to practice the course with me outside of the academy hours which helped with my times.

I had a personal trainer three times a week and focused on exercises that would assist me to complete the obstacle course that we were to complete in 2015. So I was really determined to not only get into SAPOL but also be able to complete all aspects of the program, including the fitness component as best I could.

During my course and after graduating from the Academy I have developed my confidence. This is mainly due to the fact that each shift I interact with so many people from different backgrounds and in a wide range of situations. These interactions help develop my sense of self and I often complete a tasking learning something new.

I think that being a Police Officer is a great career. I am so glad I have followed my heart. I think that some female police officers can communicate effectively and defuse situations quickly. In policing, being able to defuse a situation is a valued skill when the people involved in a tasking are behaving in a way that could put yourself and others in harm’s way.

Aimee’s story

Probationary Constable Aimee

When I finished year 12 I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to waste my money studying at university if I wasn’t going to use the degree.

I was involved with the community through the Country Fire Service, studied different courses through TAFE while working as a dog trainer and retail manager.

In 2011 I applied to work at the South Australia Police Call Centre as a Call Centre Consultant. I worked as a casual for about 12 months until I applied for and won a permanent position.

I was interested in other roles that were offered in the organisation and when the rostering position became available at the call centre I jumped at the opportunity to fill the position. My time in this position enabled me to liaise with a lot of different sections within the South Australia Police and I realised what a great opportunity it would be to join as a sworn police officer.

What attracted me to pursue a policing career was the stability in employment, competitive wages, career progression and a selection of career pathways within the one organisation.

The skills that I have developed becoming a police officer include having a solid knowledge of legislation, operational safety techniques, being more aware of my surroundings and time management maintaining police paperwork. I have learnt advanced driving techniques and have been trained in the use of a firearm, which I would have never done if I hadn’t joined SAPOL.

Every day brings new challenges and no two days are alike, which keeps work fresh and exciting. SAPOL as a workplace is forever changing and diverse. As an individual you have the ability to continue to develop both physically and mentally.

I think females can do any job they set their mind to. Job roles are no longer defined by a gender, society is becoming more accepting of this.

Madeline’s story

Probationary Constable Maddy

Coming straight from high school I got offered a scholarship to play basketball in America. I went to Missouri for two years and Hawaii for one. I studied business management at the same time as part of that scholarship program.

When I came back to South Australia I started working at Flinders University in their business department. However, I just hated being behind a desk each day, knowing exactly what I had to do day after day. I like being outside and having a hands-on type of job. So I joined ‘the job’.

At the Police Academy I was taught a wide range of different and interesting skills. This included self-defence tactics and how to use all the other tactical equipment such as spray, batons and firearms.

I think the most important tool I was taught was how to use tactical communication.  Talking people down and diffusing situations is so important in your and your colleagues’ safety.

I am not big in stature so as a relatively small female officer working in Hindley Street I have never felt intimidated by anyone or unable to hold my own. I have learnt how to handle different and challenging situations. This includes how to use problem solving skills and come up with solutions.

I have also learnt about different cultures in our community, and how to communicate with different people effectively. Another fine trait that was drilled into me was how important integrity is in this job, and how it must be a key value in being a police officer.

Being in the police offers a working environment that is very different to anything I have ever experienced. I am part of a team and it becomes your family. I spend more time with the people on my team than some probably do with their family at home. So work colleagues become family, and you trust them with everything.

I’ve never worked shift work before, and it took me a little getting used to. We get five days off every three weeks. Coming from a 9 - 5 Monday - Friday job I was never able to get jobs done like going to the post office, bank etc. With these shifts I catch up with friends, go to the beach, do errands, and go shopping when there’s no one at the shops!

I feel like I have more of a work-life balance now I’m working shift work than when I was working at an office job.

I love this job and encourage anyone, male or female, contemplating joining to simply give it a go.

To find out more about becoming a Police Officer or a Protective Security Officer, consider attending one of our information seminars or visit achievemore.com.au .