OUTSTANDING community groups and individuals have been recognised by the Queensland Police Service (QPS) at the inaugural First Nations Peoples and Communities Awards in Cairns recently.
The ceremony consisted of five award categories, reflecting the important contributions made by individuals and groups both within and outside of the QPS.
Commissioner Katarina Carroll APM hosted Mayors, Deputy Mayors, executives and delegates representing discrete communities and other delegates from government departments across Queensland.
Commissioner Carroll recognised the exceptional contributions made by individuals towards First Nations people and communities.
“At the heart of these awards, lies the spirit of collaboration and dedication to enhance the safety, well-being and improve policing outcomes for First Nations peoples and communities across Queensland,” she said.
The award ceremony saw five categories presented, including the First Nations Champion of Change, Leadership, Integrity and Courage, Partnership and Community Service Award.
Aurukun PCYC Sergeant Stephen Armstrong-Ravula was awarded the Champion of Change Award for his adaptation of strategies within communities to effect positive change.
Sergeant Armstrong-Ravulaby has created a strong youth presence in the PCYC, going above and beyond to ensure it is a safe space for kids to play sport, get involved in positive programs, make new friends, gain self-confidence and find opportunities to develop and grow.
He explained he is able to make these changes with the support of local police, staff, volunteers and visitors of the PCYC as well as through his community-based partnerships.
He also explained the programs have helped the kids involved connect and find enjoyment in their own skills.
“We are involved with the whole community and we understand the values and skills young people possess and we’ve been very successful in connecting the children with those skills,” Sergeant Armstrong-Ravulaby said.
“We can’t do this without our Aurukun Mayor, council, local police, staff at the PCYC which includes my wife Norma who is a youth support worker and our daughter Helena, who is a volunteer at the PCYC, the community and of course the kids.”
A host of other officers from across Queensland were awarded which included Sergeant Tony Rehn from Darling Downs, Senior Police Liaison Officer (SPLO) Doug Peachey from South Brisbane District Cross Cultural Liaison Unit, SPLO Gaylene Patterson from Yarrabah and a handful of other officers.
The life and service of Senior Police Liaison Officer, Uncle Paul Dai, was also commemorated and celebrated at the awards with the latest Torres Strait police vessel being named after him.
Uncle Paul sadly passed away in Townsville in February 2021 after a short illness, he served the community of Queensland, particularly his home in the Torres Strait Islands for over 30 years as a member of the Service but also as a Community Police Officer for eight years, amassing to an incredible 38 years of distinguished community service.
Uncle Paul commenced his career as a Community Police Officer in the Torres Straits on Saibai Island and Thursday Island and spent much of his life on Saibai Island, Murray Island, Darnley Island, Yam Island, Thursday Island and Horn Island.
An upbringing built on faith, teaching, travel and community service, would go on to shape him as an influential member of his community and the QPS.
He joined the Queensland Police Service as a Police Liaison Officer serving at Horn Island Police Station and in 1998, he sought out the opportunity to work at the Brisbane City Watchhouse for 12 months, before returning to Horn Island and serving his community in an exemplary manner while providing support and guidance to all members within his station.
He was fluent in 14 dialects across the region and beyond its borders and maintained relationships, mentoring sworn police and advising on matters of cultural importance, which became his life’s work.