More than 70 Bundaberg Police officers, volunteers and community members were awarded for their efforts at an official presentation honouring diligent police work this morning.
Bundaberg Inspector Pat Swindells said the Wide Bay Burnett District Medal Presentation was held at the Bundaberg Surf Lifesaving Club and highlighted the bravery of local police officers, years of service, continual contribution and commitment.
He said the awards were also a great opportunity to thank community members who had worked closely with local police over the years.
“This ceremony is also to recognise the contribution that some members of the community have given to the Bundaberg Police by assisting with various investigations, volunteering their time or giving resources,” he said.
Insp Pat Swindells said the relationship Bundaberg Police had with local residents was integral in getting their job done.
“Without the community we would fail to function efficiently,” he said.
“I can't speak highly enough of the relationship the community has with the Bundaberg Police.
“It is some of the best I have seen anywhere.”
Bundaberg Police bravery award for beach rescue mission
Acting Senior Constable Michael Gray was one of two officers to receive the Queensland Police Bravery Medal for his efforts during a beach rescue in 2016.
Act Snr Const Gray said he was off duty at the time, enjoying a day at the beach with his family when his wife noticed people struggling in the water.
“I started to slowly swim out and another member of the public swam past as well as one of the lifeguards,” he said.
“We all sort of joined arms and brought them in.
“Back on shore, my partner was bouncing all over the place trying to get help and called emergency services, she did a great job.”
Act Snr Const Gray said one thing he remembered from the day was his own struggle during the ocean rescue.
“I was not really a strong swimmer,” he laughed.
“It turned out alright in the end though.
“At the end of the day it was a team effort and it was something I would hope anyone would do.”
The Bundaberg officer also received a Superintendent's Certificate at the Bundaberg Police awards for part of his role as a school-based police officer at Bundaberg State High School.
“I have started a program to get influential people to Bundaberg to speak to the kids,” he said.
“We had Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith here earlier in the year to talk about leadership.
“Today we have Sonya Ryan from the Carly Ryan Foundation to talk about internet safety.”
Carly Ryan was 15-years-old when she was murdered by an online predator.
It was the first crime of its type in Australia, occurring in 2007 when social media was a new phenomenon and paedophiles were starting to infiltrate the online space.
Determined to help prevent harm to other innocent children and families and to help them navigate their online journey safely, Carly’s mum Sonya incorporated The Carly Ryan Foundation in 2010.
Act Snr Const Gray said it was important to teach children valuable safety lessons from people like Sonya Ryan and create great relationships with local police officer.
“It is incredibly important to feed children information and to help them,” he said.
“The old days of walking around with a big stick are over. We need to be engaged with the kids.
“We are here for the community and to keep people safe.”
A free online safety presentation by the Carly Ryan Foundation will be held tomorrow night for parents and guardians.
Find out more here.
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