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South Australia Police Officer of the Year 2022

09 Sep 2022 12:01pm

South Australia Police (SAPOL) is proud to announce the winner of the 2022 South Australia Police Officer of the Year is Superintendent Mark Syrus from Yorke Mid North Local Service Area.

South Australia Police Officer of the Year is an annual award coordinated and presented by the Rotary Club of Unley on behalf of the wider community, which highlights the quality of service provided by police.

Acting Commissioner Linda Williams congratulated Superintendent Syrus on his award.

“This award seeks to acknowledge police officers who have demonstrated exemplary courtesy, courage, kindness, understanding, compassion and devotion to duty in the eyes of the community,” she said.

“It also recognises an outstanding and committed police officer who serves the community through significant off-duty community volunteering.”

Officer in Charge of Yorke Mid North Local Service Area, Superintendent Syrus said he is fortunate to do what he loves and see the rewards of it amongst young people facing difficulties.

"I am humbled by being nominated for this prestigious award and as a police officer, there can be no greater reward than being acknowledged for your efforts from the community that we serve,” he said

“Volunteering is about giving, contributing and helping other individuals and the community. It is working with others to make a meaningful contribution to a better community.”

His nomination came from Operation Flinders Foundation CEO, David Wark. Superintendent Syrus has volunteered with Operation Flinders since 1995 and during this time has provided guidance and support to thousands of young people.

Operation Flinders provides young people who are facing adversity with an eight-day adventure therapy program based in the northern Flinders Ranges. The program is designed to build engagement, resilience and wellbeing for the young people through physical challenges such as trekking, navigation, bush skills and camping. In excess of 9,000 people between the ages of 13 and 18 have participated since the program's inception in 1991.

During his time at Operation Flinders, Superintendent Syrus has been the Team Leader for 27 exercises where he worked directly with young people, guiding them on their eight day trek over rugged terrain in the Flinders Rangers. Superintendent Syrus would carry backpacks containing essential supplies, food rations and basic camping equipment. The participants slept rough, cooked on an open fire, experienced abseiling and Indigenous culture whilst also navigating along the way.  

“I have been fortunate enough to find a way to contribute to the young people of South Australia through Operation Flinders. By temporarily disconnecting participants from modern society pressures, it provides for reflection and the building of self-confidence through new experiences and being challenged in a safe and supportive environment," said Superintendent Syrus.

In addition to his significant contribution to volunteering, Superintendent Syrus has also provided 42 years of police service at SAPOL in frontline policing, specialist roles, supervisory and management positions along with service to country communities.

Policing highlights of Superintendent Syrus include:
*Working at Special Tasks and Rescue Group (STAR) Operation Section.
*Representing SAPOL on a national level as Deputy Capability Advisor, Counter Terrorist Operations for the Australia New Zealand Counter Terrorism Committee.
*Underwater and ground searching for missing Beaumont children and Rhianna Barreau.
*Siege at Nuriootpa involving the shooting of a police officer in 1994.
*Team leader and operator at protests at Roxby Downs, Baxter and Beverly mines.
*Searching for victims in the Snowtown murders.
*Acting as Police Commander for the search and recovery of murdered nurse, Gayle Woodford at Fregon on the APY Lands.

A ceremony was held earlier today at the Royal Adelaide Show where Superintendent Syrus was presented with the honourable title by the Rotary Club of Unley’s President Ken Haines and District Governor of District 9510 Paul Thomas, along with Acting Commissioner of Police, Linda Williams.