Former Child Protection Detective, Jo McConnell has taken on the role of Acting Senior Sergeant at Beaudesert Police Station.
Local to the area for over 20 years, McConnell says coming out of a youth offending portfolio and into the officer in charge role has given her a welcome opportunity to step back into community policing.
“The beauty of here and part of the attraction is that the police station used to be a real hub of the community and have close ties to the community – it was all about community policing because we can all do it better together than on our own,” she said.
“In the busier stations sometimes that can … not go by the wayside but not as prominent because it is so busy … but here there is a good balance of both.”
McConnell joined the police force in 2007 at the age of 34, after a rewarding career in human resources management.
She did three years in uniform before moving into child protection in 2010, where she has worked since.
“Sex offending is my passion, if you like. When you have a victim child who has been offended against, I get a lot of satisfaction when I see those investigations through to the end.”
“They’re the jobs that I will work my guts out to see to a resolution because they’re innocent victims. It makes up for some of the yucky stuff because you are making a difference.”
She is in the role at Beaudesert while Ken Murray is relieving in another region.
“I’m very fortunate because Senior Sergeant Murray is all for ‘you own it and for this period of time you do what you need to do’.”
She sees building relationships in the community as an integral part of her role in Beaudesert.
“What we do have but other communities are losing are the days when your neighbours looked after you.”
“We take an interest and we do the right thing. We need consideration of each other.”
“Sadly society is moving to a space where that is failing us. We are working a lot, we relocate frequently, we lose our family ties and I think your community suffers because of that.”
Anti social behaviours such as road rage, hooning and drugs are all aspects which the police can work with the community to take action.
Having members of the community submit information through Crime Stoppers and PoliceLink is invaluable.
“All that information helps, you can’t downplay the importance of those. It filters through to the station and we get files every day with information from those sources.”
Working with her team at the station and with a proactive policing approach, McConnell hopes to leave a strong mark on Beaudesert.
“It’s patrolling the shopping centre, being out there and crime prevention and disruption.”
She lives by the words of a favourite quote from Theodore Roosevelt: By far and away the greatest gift in life is to work hard at work worth doing.
“It is not the most glamorous job in the world but it is certainly work worth doing.”