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City's top cops want to make a difference

REWARDING ROLE: Acting Senior Constable Stephanie Corless, Constable Grant Simpson, Sergeant John Cumner, Senior Constable James North and Senior Constable Kerrin Sheedy are all nominees in the Rotary Police Officer of the Year awards.
REWARDING ROLE: Acting Senior Constable Stephanie Corless, Constable Grant Simpson, Sergeant John Cumner, Senior Constable James North and Senior Constable Kerrin Sheedy are all nominees in the Rotary Police Officer of the Year awards. Sarah Harvey

ASK police officers why they decided to join the force and many will answer "to make a difference".

Acting Senior Constable Stephanie Corless had experience of nursing and teaching before she became a police officer.

Now she's the school-based officer at Ipswich State High School, with the responsibility of looking after the feeder primary schools of Brassall and North Ipswich, and dealing with any neighbourhood business problems relating to the students.

"I've always been in an area where I'm helping people," Sen Const Corless said.

"There's so much social work involved in (my current role).

"I do a lot of listening.

"I've got an open door policy - kids just come in and say hi.

"It's a worthwhile role if we can reduce youth offending.

"I'm not just there for behaviour management.

"My role is to provide youth-police positive interaction."

Crime prevention officer Senior Constable Kerrin Sheedy is on the frontline of community education and training.

Apart from creating projects like Under the Bonnet with car dealerships - which raise women's personal safety awareness and car maintenance skills - she is also Adopt-a-Cop co-ordinator for 94 schools.

"My job is a really positive side of policing," Sen Const Sheedy said.

"In so many ways, you feel like you're making a difference."

Senior constables Corless and Sheedy are among 13 police officers in the Ipswich region nominated for an inaugural award.

Police Officer of the Year is a joint initiative by Ipswich Rotary clubs, Ipswich City Council and the police service.

The Ipswich police district covers the area north to Toogoolawah, south to Boonah, west to Rosewood and Marburg and east to Goodna.

Officer in charge at Toogoolawah, Sergeant John Cumner, and his work partner Senior Constable James North, are also on the list of nominees.

Sgt Cumner, after 20 years in the service, said policing was "a family business" for him.

"My dad, mum and grandfather were in the job," he said.

"Sometimes you can actually make a difference."

Sen Const North says police officers face the challenge of trying to make everyone happy.

"It's something I wanted to do since I was a little kid, to try and make a difference," Sen Const North said.

Goodna police constable Grant Simpson works for the property team in a crime hotspot, investigating crimes like home and business break-ins.

He likes the mateship in the police service.

"We all work together to get the job done," he said.

"It's flat-strap all the time."

The awards dinner for the Rotary Police Officer of the Year will be held on Friday, March 1.

Topics:  ipswich city council, ipswich rotary clubs, ipswich state high school, james north, john cumner, kerrin sheedy, police, police officer of the year, stephanie corless


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