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COVER: The Victoria Police Memorial on St Kilda Road in Melbourne.

Lasting legacy A helping hand or two was only a phone call away, with the kind souls at Victoria Police Legacy stepping in at the right time after a family lost their loved one.


Chop shop Detectives from the Vehicle Crime Squad had to work quickly to catch a criminal who was involved in a syndicate stealing luxury cars to ship overseas.

Photography: John Pallot Police Life is produced by the Media & Corporate Communications Department, Victoria Police, GPO Box 913, Melbourne, 3001, Fax: 9247 5982 Online Email Managing Editor Superintendent Jo Dolan


Editor Maria Carnovale

Facing off Meet the team that creates lifelike facial images that are used to track down criminals faster and more accurately.


Our story Anne Howey and Leading Senior Constable Natalie Dean share a friendship that was started in policing, and forged during difficult times.

Journalists Donna Magness Chris Metevelis Ashlee Williams Graphic Design Fluid – Subscriptions 9247 6894 ISSN 0032-2598L Crown Copyright in the state of Victoria. For permission to reprint any part of this magazine, contact the editor. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Victoria Police.



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Small Talk Behind the Badge By the Numbers Out & About

Badge and Beyond Fearless former senior constable Gary Storer continues to help the community as a retired peer support officer, even while healing himself.

A MESSAGE FROM THE CHIEF COMMISSIONER Members of the community call the police often when something tragic has occurred and the people involved are at their most vulnerable. Our police members attend these incidents and need to be in control and remain confident.

1,000kms from opposite sides of the state, meeting halfway in Wangaratta, to raise awareness of police mental health issues, as well as much needed funding for police veterans who are unable to access the same level of support as those still serving.

With that comes an expectation of coping, meaning the task of asking for help in times of struggle does not come easily, and emotions get buried under the surface.

While Victoria Police’s focus is on ensuring our community is safe, I am very pleased to see the community is providing their support back to police through this challenge.

To improve mental health outcomes for our members, Victoria Police recognises the need for a cultural shift that supports early help-seeking behaviour.

Wayne and I have had an outpouring of support for the Head to Head Walk and I look forward to seeing how it evolves to better care for our members in the years to come.

Over the last couple of years we have been doing a lot of work to deliver on this through the implementation of wellbeing services that better support our members throughout their career and into their post-Victoria Police lives. However, more needs to be done.

Read about the Head to Head Walk in this edition of Police Life.

Soon, The Police Association of Victoria’s Secretary Wayne Gatt and I will walk a combined 2


Graham Ashton AM Chief Commissioner Follow CCP Ashton on Twitter at @GrahamAshtonCCP

MAKING NEWS For the latest police news visit

WALKING THE TALK Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton and The Police Association of Victoria's (TPAV) Secretary Wayne Gatt are on a mission to raise awareness and funds for police mental health. They recently hit the halfway mark on their $500,000 target for former police in need. It will be a long, gruelling 500 kilometres, with a snowy peak to add an extra challenge, but that won’t deter CCP Ashton as he walks halfway across the state in October.

expand and professionalise the vital volunteer services provided by the Retired Peer Support Officer Program. CCP Ashton said he was preparing for the walk, which will take him up mountains and through snow at various points of the trek. “It’s nice to be able to demonstrate your commitment through action, because in jobs such as mine, you can find yourself talking a lot about things, and talking regularly to groups of people about how important mental health is,” he said.

CCP Ashton will begin the walk in Mallacoota, while on the other side of the state, Mr Gatt will start his trek in Mildura.

“Getting an opportunity to ‘walk the talk’ and do something that’s a more physical demonstration of an issue I’m passionate about will be really satisfying.”

They will walk with a range of co-workers, former police, mental health ambassadors and the community, meeting ‘head to head’ in Wangaratta about three weeks later.

Mr Gatt said he was most looking forward to giving a voice to former police impacted by mental health issues.

The 1,000 kilometre-combined walk aims to raise funds and awareness for former police with mental health issues, in direct support of the Victoria Police Provident Fund’s new Mental Health Fund. The funds raised will be used to

“We often talk on their behalf a lot but it’s good to have an opportunity for them to be heard too, and to show how these issues continue to impact them in their life post-Victoria Police as well,” he said.

“This isn’t a political stunt, this is a fair-dinkum way of raising money to support people. There’s an outcome attached to this, it’s more than a walk, it’s more than a talk, it’s about doing something to help people, so I think hopefully if we achieve that end result, it will be an achievement in itself.” CCP Ashton said he would remind himself to “just keep walking” towards positive change. “I think it will be the start of, hopefully something we’ll look back on in a few years and know that we have achieved some significant things for our members.”

Visit to donate and learn more about the cause.

Image Feet forward Mr Gatt and CCP Ashton prepare for their 1,000 km walk in October. Editorial: Maria Carnovale Photography: John Pallot



Heads meet for

MENTAL HEALTH 1 , 0 0 0 k m f u n d r a i s i n g wa l k Police Life talked socks, snacks and support for former police with Victoria Police’s Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton and The Police Association of Victoria’s Secretary Wayne Gatt as they prepare for their 1,000-kilometre Head to Head Fundraising Walk across the state in October.



How are you preparing for the Head to Head Walk? GA We’re trying to get advice from people who’ve done it. I had a chat to Brendan Nottle today (the Salvation Army Major who walked from Melbourne to Canberra lobbying for a national solution to homelessness). I got some advice from him about the best way to do it. It’s going to be pretty challenging. WG A friend of mine has done a Melbourne to Sydney walk so he’s been a really good source of information. Just building it up day by day, doing more and more kilometres … and I’m hoping that’s going to work for me. But I really don’t know. I haven’t done anything like this before. What’s the longest you’ve walked so far?

time off, you’re getting other stuff done at the same time, it is handy. It makes a two-hour walk go that little bit quicker when you’ve got other stuff to think about and focus on. What sort of advice are you getting from people? GA I’ve had a lot of different sorts of advice, about what footwear to wear, what sort of socks to wear, how often we should be changing footwear and socks and lots of different sorts of bandaging and treatments for your feet. It’s mostly been around the feet. WG Yeah, none of it consistent (laughs). I think you’ve just gotta do what you’re comfortable in, so the challenge will be to see how we go in the first few days.

GA The furthest I’ve done in my training so far is 35kms. And that was … yeah, that really took it out of me. I need to do more of those over the next couple of months.

GA We’re seeing the same podiatrist now, so we’re getting the same expert foot advice.

WG I’m up to about 25 (kms) per day now and I’m doing that back-to-back, going as fast as I can (laughs). I’m trying to work it up and fit it in with my work schedule so that’s a challenge too, to use every spare moment I can to get out there and do some k’s.

GA I haven’t asked, we might need him. (laughs)

What do you think will be the hardest part of the walk? WG It will be a long three weeks, and making sure that mentally we’re ready to do it all over again the next day when it might be hurting. But that’s nothing compared to what our members have to do, and former members are doing, day after day. During your training, have you had a moment where you’ve thought, ‘what was I thinking?’ GA Yeah, every time I’m walking pretty much (both laugh). When I’m going 25kms there are parts of it where you think ‘this is getting a bit monotonous’, you know what I mean? And I like walking! But as Wayne just said, you see our people are suffering every day with some serious issues so it’s hardly anything compared to that. WG For me the day after a long walk, you always feel that tinge. What I am starting to appreciate is you actually do feel better mentally for getting out there and exercising and that’s the message we’ve been giving our members for many years now, the importance of exercise and being active to maintain health and wellbeing. You’ll be tired, walking long days, how do you think you’ll go getting some work done while you’re out there? GA The phone will be going and we’ll be tending to issues even while we’re walking along. To me that will be a good part of the mental distraction you might need sometimes. I think it will help to, sort of pass the time, but it will help to make that mental endurance stuff a bit easier. WG Training for walking, there’s only one way to do it, and that’s to walk. So taking big chunks out of your day and out of your weekends and

Is the podiatrist coming along?

Who is on your support crew and what will they do? GA For me, we’ve got our office to run as well, so I’ve got a mobile office set-up with my Chief of Staff and some people from the office rotating in as part of that. And there’s a support crew that will enable the walk to happen. People are giving their time there, so we can have people in the support vehicles and also, we’re grateful to Road Policing Command for a lot of the planning and that sort of work that’s gone into it as well. WG Likewise, we’ll have our advisors and office staff. But we’ll also have a lot of our local representatives, our delegates and executive members from local communities coming out too, so they’re leaders in their own right. It will be good to have them, giving us a hand, walking with us as a team. What did your families say when you said you’d be walking 500kms?

Of course, being over 90 now, Mick’s unable to do a walk like that, but if I could have had a choice of someone to walk with, given the support he’s given me, he would be great. Sir Angus Houston (retired Air Chief Marshal) has been great too with his support for Victoria Police. What is the food/drink of choice to boost your energy? GA I’ve been knocking back the energy drinks and energy bars, but a nice beer at the end of the walk would be nice to look forward to. What else will you be looking forward to at the end of the walk? WG The end (laughs). It will be a long road, but it will be satisfying. Hopefully at the end we’ll have a significant number of members there, and the opportunity to celebrate, hopefully raising a significant amount of awareness, but hopefully more than awareness. GA And I think that bit about meeting in the middle in Wangaratta, that’s really the start as well. It’s the end of the walk, but it’s an opportunity to say, we’re meeting in Wangaratta to launch from here and we’re going to do a whole range of things that we haven’t thought of yet, that will continue to raise money and awareness. What would you say to someone who is suffering with mental health issues? WG Put your hand up. It doesn’t matter where. There are people in Victoria Police that are willing to help you, there are people in The Police Association that can help you. Ring one of us, ring anyone, speak to a friend, it doesn’t matter who, but speak to somebody, reach out and get support. GA Ditto. Speak up. Ask. There are plenty of people wanting to help. It’s that first step that can be the most difficult, to actually reach out. I’d encourage people to do so. And also to look out for each other too, for those around you that might be struggling as well.

WG Are you sure? (laughs). It’s a big undertaking, it will take us away from family for a period of time during a busy time of year for me too, particularly at home. It’s a commitment but it’s one that I think is worthwhile. There’s good support there, there’s good support in the broader family, but also the broader policing family too, which is good. We’re a part of two families in the police force. GA My wife reminded me that I’m 56 – just to take it easy, not to wipe myself out, (laughs) but they’ve all been very supportive I must say, it’s been good. If you could pick one person who you could walk with, dead or alive, who would you choose? Both 'Hmmm', sighing ... GA It would be nice if Mick Miller (former Chief Commissioner) could come with me … I find him a good person to go and sit down and talk with.

Find out how you can donate and watch CCP Ashton and Mr Gatt talk about the upcoming Head to Head Walk at Image Heads meet CCP Ashton and Mr Gatt are training for the walk, which will take place from 1 October. Editorial: Maria Carnovale Photography: John Pallot





What does National Police Remembrance Day on 29 September mean to you? LEADING SENIOR CONSTABLE LEANNE JOHNSON Knox Police Station

“Being a third-generation police officer, my father has always encouraged my brother and I to continue the tradition of paying respect for what our grandfathers sacrificed for our county. Remembrance Day allows us to pass our family history onto our children.”

Police and Protective Services Officers (PSOs) can now provide their details to members of the community on a new ‘contact card’.

that person is also entitled to ask for the name, rank and station,” Cmdr Bateson said.

Similar to a business card, the contact cards are a more professional and accessible way for police to provide their details to people they are engaging with. It is part of Victoria Police’s commitment to transparent and accountable policing.

“This may be important if you are a victim or witness to a crime as you may need to follow up or provide further information to police at a later date.”

Priority Communities Division’s Commander Stuart Bateson said the card allowed members of the public to know who they spoke to in case they need to follow up later. “Many people don’t realise that when a police officer or PSO has asked a member of the public to provide their name and address,

“The police officer or PSO may state their details or write them down.

To: Date :



Time :


am / pm

Name: Rank : Work Unit : Phone:

Email: V

VP Form 75


Revised date 06/18

Reprint date 06/18


“It is a chance to remember and pay respect to the men and women who selflessly served, brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice.” SUPERINTENDENT PETER O’NEILL North West Metro Region

“Remembrance Day is about never forgetting. It’s an important day where we can pay our respects to those who have served in a policing capacity.”

BE PART OF THE STORY Join the Conversation Police Life loves hearing what you think about the magazine, your local police and Victoria Police in general. Write or email Police Life at: Police Life GPO Box 913 Melbourne, 3001 Email:



When not hitting the highway on patrol, Sen Const Swan is a handy mechanic, a civic-conscious firefighter and an avid photographer.

Senior Constable Paul Swan is a dab hand at mechanical fixes and when not on the job, can often be found busy under the hood of an old car. Sen Const Swan enjoys repairing old cars, and is known for his interest in restoring old police cars. After restoring the classics, he sells them off to loving homes. “It’s the enjoyment of seeing an old car ‘come back to life’ and getting them back on the road,” he explained about the pleasure he gets from his hobby.

Now a traffic operative at Mansfield Highway Patrol, Sen Const Swan reflected on his time in Euroa, in north-east Victoria. “I spent just over three years working in Euroa. Interesting working in a place where your backup is usually more than 30 minutes away, so having to keep situations as calm as possible – you really have to know how to talk to people,” he said. Sen Const Swan enjoys the outdoors and the bush, and has been a Country Fire Authority volunteer for 25 years.


CARLEE BREADMORE Rank: Sergeant Age: 37 Graduated: 2001 Station:  Operations Response Unit (ORU)

Why did you join Victoria Police? When I applied to join Victoria Police, I was a university student studying Commerce and working two part-time jobs, one of which was at a corporate incentives company. I was planning for a corporate career and although there were great opportunities in this field, I was raised with a strong sense of justice and felt I would make a better contribution to the community through policing. Tell us a bit about yourself. I started at the Victoria Police Academy in February 2001 as a 19-yearold. From there, I worked in general duties at suburban 24-hour stations, in the CBD and rural areas. The highlight was when I was a constable at Yarrawonga; I had to learn to be self-reliant because I was often the only unit in the division working one-up. In 2006, I became one of the youngest leading senior constables in the organisation as well as a new mum. When I became a parent, my priorities changed and I believe it made me a more compassionate police officer. Since then I have worked in a number of specialist roles, including road policing and the Police Conduct Unit, where I assessed, resolved and managed complaint files. In 2015, after 14 years of diverse policing roles, I was promoted to sergeant at the ORU. In this role I have been very fortunate to be afforded development opportunities and I am currently upgraded as an acting senior sergeant. Juggling policing and parenting two children has been difficult; however, with flexible work options and support from my supervisors I am able to get the balance right and continue to develop professionally. What does your work at the ORU involve? The ORU is dynamic and exciting. The unit provides a highly visible and trained police response to address the highest priority organisational issues, public safety incidents and emergencies. Police are issued with modern public order equipment and resources – helmets,

shields and gas masks to safely respond to issues. I have completed the Public Order Response Team course and regularly train to keep my skills current. As an operational supervisor, my role includes acting as the tactical commander of a Public Order Response Team to provide specialist tactical options and advice. I also manage the team, helping with personal issues and professionally developing my team members. What advice would you give someone considering policing? Be open-minded to the extensive career opportunities available to police. There are always new things happening and you never know where you could end up. If you have personal circumstances that you feel could be a barrier to your career, such as being a parent or carer, there are flexible options that could benefit both you and your workplace. By taking responsibility for my own growth and working with my supervisors, I have been provided with operational, specialist, corporate and tactical experience that I certainly didn’t consider when I was planning my career at the Academy. What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to you at Victoria Police? I was chosen to be the official face of the Behind the Badge: Women of Victoria Police exhibition at the Victoria Police Museum, which I thought was flattering given we have so many amazing people in the organisation. My time with Victoria Police has certainly been an interesting journey and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for me. You’re more suited than you might think. Consider a career in policing and find out how you can join at

Editorial: Jennifer Cornejo Photography: Morganna Magee POLICE LIFE | SPRING 2018



$500,000 1 MILLION is the number of contacts Crime Stoppers Victoria is expecting to reach later this month. Each contact provides information that can help solve crime and locate wanted persons. Visit or call 1800 333 000.


is the amount CCP Ashton and Mr Gatt aim to raise for the Victoria Police Provident Fund’s Mental Health Fund, initially supporting the Retired Peer Support Officer Program. Read more on page 3.

1,000KM is the combined distance CCP Ashton and Mr Gatt will trek across the state for the Head to Head Walk in October.

1,000 composite images are created annually by the Criminal Identification Unit. Read more on page 22.

is National Police Remembrance Day, an important day in the policing calendar. Read more on page 10.

80,000 164 is the number of followers on Victoria Police’s Instagram page. Want to get us to 100,000? Search @VictoriaPolice or head to

police have died in the line of duty during Victoria Police’s history.


police have been helped so far by the Retired Peer Support Officer program. Read more on page 30.

Keep up with the latest police news at



Get the latest police news at


Eyewatch Goldfields



Tarnagulla police received a generous donation from a keen knitter recently. Seventy-seven-year-old Anne Smith donated hand-knitted trauma bears for police to give to children in times of need. Ms Smith worked in the Australian Defence Force for more than 26 years and has donated about 250 bears to emergency services so far.

Victoria Police’s Special Operations Group recently welcomed their latest cubs to the clan. The team expanded their fleet with two brand new BearCat vehicles to respond to high-risk incidents such as sieges or the apprehension of armed offenders. The vehicles feature high ballistic protection, a 6.7-litre V8 turbo diesel engine and off-road capability.

The Air Wing snapped a ‘bloody’ great shot of an orange-imbued moon while out on patrol. The eye-popping photo was captured the night before July’s complete lunar eclipse, where the moon took on a blood-red appearance.

Visit to find out more about the local police.

ODD SPOT CORNER Twinning it Melbourne North police were star struck when two movies stars strolled through their doors. It’s not known why the dynamic duo decided to quit Hollywood and take up a role in law enforcement, but police agreed they were a good fit for the job.



NATIONAL POLICE REMEMBRANCE DAY: 29 SEPTEMBER Every year, police and the community gather to remember fallen police officers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

In Victoria, 164 police have died in the line of duty. Of this number, 30 were murdered. This casts a focus on the dangers police face every day as they go about their duties. The National Police Remembrance Day march and service will be held on 29 September from 9am at the Victoria Police Memorial, Kings Domain, Melbourne. This year, Remembrance Day is even more poignant as the organisation commemorates the memories of four police who died 20 and 30 years ago.


years has passed since the brutal slayings of young police constables Steven Tynan, 22, and Damian Eyre, 20. But their loss and the pain of their story are no less significant. On 12 October, 1988, constables Tynan and Eyre were on divisional van duty at Prahran Police Station when a report of an apparently abandoned car came in. About 4.50am, they headed to Walsh Street, South Yarra, to investigate. While examining the Holden Commodore, they were ambushed by armed offenders. Const Tynan was shot while sitting in the Holden, and Const Eyre seriously wounded. Despite his injuries, it is believed he managed to struggle with his attacker until another offender approached from behind, snatching Const Eyre’s service revolver from its holster and shooting him in the head with it. Detective Senior Sergeant Wayne Laver, now at the Centre for Crime Investigation at the Victoria Police Academy, was part of the Homicide Squad that dealt with the initial investigation. He said the brave actions of the young constables would never be forgotten.




“I still attend the memorial services for the fallen officers,” he said. “It’s out of respect for the members and for their families. I like to attend as much as I can, to show that we, the police family, have not forgotten them. We never forget, and nor should we.” This year being the 30th anniversary of their murders, the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation is planning a significant memorial service at Prahran Police Station. It will be held at 10.30am, Friday, 12 October. The Tynan-Eyre Memorial Foundation, renamed the Blue Ribbon Foundation in 1998, 10 years after it was established, provides awards to encourage training excellence for recruits at the Victoria Police Academy.


The awards are named in honour of constables Tynan and Eyre, and Constable Angela Taylor who died in the Russell Street Police Headquarters bombing on Easter Thursday, 1986. Blue Ribbon Foundation’s chief executive officer Neil Soullier said fallen members were still “alive” in the foundation’s and families’ memories. “It’s not their deaths we want to honour, it’s their lives too,” he said. The Blue Ribbon Foundation has supported many community projects and efforts over the years, including hospital facilities to perpetuate the memory of constables Tynan and Eyre.


The Victoria Police Memorial


years ago, on 16 August, 1998, Sergeant Gary Silk and Senior Constable Rodney Miller were on a stakeout about midnight, as part of an investigation into the Silky Emperor Restaurant near the corner of Cochranes and Warrigal roads, Moorabbin. They were gunned down at close range during the stakeout. The shooter and his accomplice, Bandali Debs and Jason Roberts, were caught after an extensive two-year investigation and in February 2003, sentenced to life imprisonment. Detective Superintendent Paul Sheridan, now at Serious Crime Operations, was the detective inspector in charge of Homicide Operations in 1998, tasked with investigating the murders. “I had been in the force for in excess of 20 years at that time,” he recalled. “I had previous service at the Homicide Squad including as a Team Leader Detective Senior Sergeant. “Despite that, attending this crime was a chilling experience personally and professionally. You could see and feel the raw emotion in your fellow police officers; it was a very challenging time for us all. “Over the next few years, the investigation experienced some highs and lows, but as a result of the professionalism and focus of the taskforce investigators, the limited evidence obtained from the scene was able to be developed to formulate a strong brief of evidence against the two accused men. “The investigation, including the Committal and Supreme Court trial, ran in total for almost four years before the conviction came on 31 December, 2002.


“Throughout the whole time, investigators were well supported by everyone within the force. The unity of purpose at that time across the whole force was remarkable. The Chief Commissioner of the day, Neil Comrie, was extremely supportive of the taskforce during the difficult times. “It meant a great deal to the investigators, that our leaders had faith in us. “The 20th anniversary is of course a very significant moment for us all, we remember Gary and Rod and their sacrifice. We acknowledge the unwavering support from the Silk and Miller families over the years, they have been inspirational. Given that one of the convicted men has an appeal application currently underway, we do not see the case as finalised at this point.” The Silk-Miller Memorial Day was held on 16 August, marking the 20th anniversary of the Silk-Miller murders. It was well-attended,


with colleagues, past and present, friends and family, paying tribute to their ultimate sacrifice. A memorial service was held at St Kilda Police Station, and afterwards, a netball match at Pit Straight, Albert Park. The fallen officers were keen sport fans and the games are played in honour of their memory. The annual Silk-Miller Cup was played between Port Phillip and Stonnington police at Etihad Stadium, as a curtain-raiser before the Hawthorn vs St Kilda match at the same venue, on 18 August. Special commemorative medals for the players were also handed out. Images In memory 01 Const Eyre 02 Const Tynan 03 S gt Silk 04 Sen Const Miller Editorial: Donna Magness





Newly-graduated Constable Kellie Carter, based at Knox Police Station, never met her grandfather but owes her career to him. Const Carter, 30, who was a protective services officer for four years before getting behind the wheel of a divvy van, said the stories she was told of her grandfather, a motorcycle police officer who died from severe injuries sustained on duty, inspired her to join Victoria Police.

“While responding to an accident, granddad collided with a vehicle at the corner of Malvern and Winton roads, East Malvern,” Const Carter said.

George Carter was born on 6 April, 1915 in Northcote and had a challenging childhood, having lost his father at age two.

“He was seriously injured, and had apparently broken every bone in his body, including his spine. He was sent to the Austin Hospital, and ultimately became a paraplegic.

As a young man, he worked as a farm labourer and dreamed of becoming a police officer.

His name was George William Carter, a First Constable, and from his records was a keen, competent and well-respected officer.

Const Carter said he realised his dream in 1938, combining his love of motorcycles and policing, to eventually become a motorcycle officer.

“The accident happened on 28 December, 1949,” she said.

She recalled her father James’ story about the accident.

“He was 34 years old. My father was only three or four years old at the time.


“Dad told us granddad’s stories. I grew up with them and these motivated me to join the force. My dad, and of course the rest of my family, were so proud and excited when I graduated.”


“He never recovered and never went home, dying there three years later in 1952. He was only 37 years old, and left behind his wife Mary Alice and two sons under 10, my father James and Uncle Ken.” The vehicle driver was fined for making an illegal turn but deemed to have not caused the collision.

REMEMBRANCE DAY 29 SEPTEMBER First Const Carter is one of five police to be recognised on National Police Remembrance Day on 29 September with their names added to the Victoria Police Memorial Honour Wall and acknowledged with Victoria Police Stars.


Sergeant Edward Leonard 691

Constable James Maguire 2907

Sgt Leonard had a successful 16-year career with Victoria Police, which began with his graduation in July, 1853.

Const Maguire joined Victoria Police in November, 1877 and worked in police stations in regional Victoria.

He was working in Geelong when he died from double pneumonia on 19 August, 1869, aged 42.

He was on duty in Violet Town when a bushfire began on 16 February, 1888.

In his Victoria Police Record of Conduct and Service, Sgt Leonard’s Inspecting Superintendent noted it was his belief he died of double pneumonia brought on by “exposure whilst on night duty”. Sgt Leonard’s wife, Susan, wrote about her husband’s death to Chief Commissioner Frederick Standish when applying for a gratuity. She stated her husband thought the sickness would wear off and continued to work for some days “but unfortunately he was compelled to give up”. Sgt Leonard’s last day of work was 14 August 1869. He died five days later, leaving behind his wife and three young children.

Fast forward about 66 years, and a visit to the Victoria Police Memorial in Kings Domain Gardens, Melbourne, revealed an omission in the honour roll – First Constable George William Carter’s name was not on it for police who had died in the line of duty. “Dad noticed his name was not there so he went straight to (then) Chief Commissioner Ken Lay who got the ball rolling,” Const Carter said. “So now his name is being added, and it’s well deserved. I will definitely be attending the ceremony. And dad and the rest of my family, and Uncle Ken and his family – they now live in Western Australia – will be coming too. It will be a great family reunion.”

Several days later, Benalla newspaper, the North Eastern Ensign reported that Const Maguire hurried to the scene on foot and with others “worked very hard beating the fire back”. The fire was controlled but Const Maguire was overheated and exhausted. The next day he complained of feeling ill and a doctor described his symptoms as English Cholera. Const Maguire died on 18 February, 1888, aged 32. Two days after his death, Superintendent M B Montfort wrote, “The late Constable Maguire was most active, reliable and trustworthy and is a great loss to the force”.

Constable Kenneth McNeil 18081

Senior Constable James Leslie Dunscombe 23016

Const McNeil was 19 when he graduated as dux of his squad at the Victoria Police Academy in January, 1974.

Sen Const Dunscombe’s 23-year policing career began at the Victoria Police Academy in June, 1981.

Tragedy struck four months later while he directed traffic at the corner of Swanston and Little Collins streets in Melbourne. Const McNeil was struck by a tram and thrown into the side of another tram. It was his second day with the Melbourne District Traffic and Patrol Division.

He was predominantly based at Corio Police Station.

Const McNeil was taken to hospital where he was unconscious for about two weeks. Inspector R. Hope visited him almost a year later on his 21st birthday, at the Caulfield Convalescent Hospital, noting the devastating effect of his injuries, which became permanent and debilitating. He died, aged 47, in his family home in February, 2002.

Image Carter family 01 Const Carter attributes her career choice to her grandfather. 02 First Const Carter.

Sen Const Dunscombe was working divisional van duties on 11 December, 2004 with Senior Constable Graham Caldwell. That night they responded to a call about a security alarm at a primary school and patrolled the area but found nothing suspicious. They stopped to speak to two men nearby and, as they returned to the divisional van, Sen Const Dunscombe suddenly collapsed. Sen Const Caldwell called for assistance and started CPR. However, Sen Const Dunscombe died at the Geelong Hospital a short time later. He was 54.

Editorial: Donna Magness Photography: Scott McNaughton POLICE LIFE | SPRING 2018


Eighty-six-year-old Les Rymer was only six when his father died from complications after his police motorcycle overturned in 1937. Constable Leonard Cardell-Rymer was 27 years old with three children at the time of his death. Mr Rymer, the youngest son of Const Rymer, was visibly moved during a recent event to recognise his father and unveil his restored grave at Cheltenham Cemetery. “I am absolutely thrilled with today,” Mr Rymer said. “To think my father is still being remembered is fantastic.” On 1 February, 1937, Const Rymer was a crew member of the Victoria Police Motorcycle Patrol. He and a partner were on Point Nepean Road when their motorcycle and sidecar broke down.




As it was being towed back to the Russell Street Police Headquarters, it overturned while passing through St Kilda Junction. Both police were injured and admitted to the Police Hospital.

Today, a group of Victoria Police employees and other interested groups focus on recognising those who fell in unfortunate circumstances, including those who lost their lives serving in a policing role prior to Victoria Police’s formation.

At first, it was thought that Const Rymer had suffered only a broken collarbone, however, complications set in and he died later that day.

The work is a result of the Victoria Police Memorials Committee, which completes projects that keep the memory of police alive.

Eighty years have passed since that tragic day, and Const Rymer’s memory was honoured in a ceremony and with a restored grave site, where his son and future generations can reflect for years to come.

The committee, including representatives from Victoria Police, the Blue Ribbon Foundation and Victoria Police Legacy, The Police Association of Victoria and others, was set up to honour these police and provide a place for colleagues, family and friends to pay their respects.

Since Victoria Police was formed in 1853, thousands of police have contributed to serving the state. Some went on to other employment or served until their retirement while others sadly lost their lives on the job.

Many of those on the committee take on the task in addition to their regular duties or volunteer in their spare time.




One of those is North West Metro Region’s Superintendent Peter O’Neill.

“Another officer’s horse was found wandering in Castlemaine, but its rider was never found.”

He said there were 20 grave sites and headstones earmarked for repair which, over time, have deteriorated or become overcome by trees and the grass surrounding them.

In other cases, records providing their burial information were lost, ruined by floods and fire.

In a pile of rocks and rubble in Greta, north-east of Melbourne, are the remains of Constable John Alexander Duff, thrown from his horse while on patrol on 11 November, 1871.

Supt O’Neill said part of their work involved presenting medals of service and courage to the families of some of the police who have passed.

His unmarked grave was discovered last year after a local historian helped the committee locate it.

Such is the story of Constable Joseph Delaney, whose relatives were presented with his Valour Award recently.

The grave was restored, a headstone placed and his name and other details added to the plaque.

In 1923, Const Delaney was shot by a 15-year-old offender, who he had sought out to interview for another police matter.

Unfortunately not all have enjoyed this outcome.

“Our history at Victoria Police is so strong,” Supt O’Neill said.

The remains of five other police are yet to be found.

“These police have set the culture of this organisation and some died in tragic circumstances.

“One is Constable David Digby who drowned while on duty and others might have been lost at sea, or fallen down mine shafts, but never located,” Supt O’Neill said. “In 1881 Const Digby was washed to sea while attempting to return to shore. He had been guarding a ship that was stranded on rocks.

Even in these cases, the memorial committee is doing its bit to recognise the police.

“Over the passage of time, we’ve lost touch with the families, but we have a genealogist on the committee who has helped to locate family members and reunite them with their police family.”

For Supt O’Neill, the recognition of police is of particular interest to him personally, as well as professionally. His daughter and son-in-law are police also. “I joined Victoria Police in 1973, so I know quite a few of the police who have died on duty,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to do something to remember them.” Later this year the committee will participate in dedicating a reflective area near Mansfield to sergeants Michael Kennedy, Michael Scanlon and Tom Lonigan, killed in Stringybark Creek in an infamous shootout with the Kelly Gang in 1878. Plans are also well underway to refurbish the graves of the three fallen police early next year.

Images Enduring memories 01 Supt O'Neill, the Police Historical Society's Ralph Stavely and Police Chaplain Reverend Jim Jung. 02 Shrine Guards took part in the ceremony for Const Rymer's grave dedication. 03 M  r Rymer with Southern Metro Region's Inspector Karen Nyholm. Editorial: Maria Carnovale Photography: Andrew Henshaw






y c a g e L g n i t s a L A The loss of a loved one is never easy to bear, and many find they are grateful for support and a helping hand, sometimes from unexpected sources. The Rocco family – father Detective Senior Constable Dean Rocco, daughter Mia, 19 and son Joe, 17 – were hit hard when their wife and mother died in 2009. The children were just eight and nine. Det Sen Const Rocco recalled the hardship, emotionally and financially, that his family faced at the time. “It was a very hard time that now, when I look back on, was like a blur,” he said. “I think we were in a fog for quite some time.” Luckily, help was only a phone call away. Victoria Police Legacy stepped in at just the right time. “Police Legacy contacted me not long after we lost my wife. At first, I had no idea that I would be able to be supported by it and had little understanding of what they do,” Det Sen Const Rocco said. “Like every recruit, I just signed up to fortnightly contributions when I was at the Victoria Police Academy, and then gave it little thought until Police Legacy came back into our lives.”

The education grants have supported Mia and Joe through their schooling. Mia is currently in university and Joe is completing Year 12. “Police Legacy came into our lives when they were still in primary school and they have grown up now with it having been part of their lives for longer than not,” Det Sen Const Rocco said. “We are very grateful. They have been a very positive presence in our lives. I understand that we are quite privileged to have this as if I was not with the Force, we would not have received any of this help. It was obviously something I never anticipated I would be the recipient of, and I guess no one would, but you just never know. “I would just like to get across to everyone out there who makes donations to Police Legacy – their contributions are appreciated, and that Police Legacy is very real and there are very tangible benefits to the families who are at the receiving end.”

Det Sen Const Rocco is grateful for the help his family has received. “Police Legacy has been a great support over the years. Initially, it was good for the children to be linked in with other children who came from the same circumstances of having lost a parent,” he said. “This helped them to realise they weren’t alone and isolated and that there were others who had had the same experience. They still connect today with these children, who are now mostly young adults. “The charity has also helped financially by providing education grants. This has been extremely helpful for me as a parent.”

Victoria Police Legacy is a not-for-profit organisation that provides a range of services to police families who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Legacy supports members of the police family who have lost a partner who is a serving or retired police officer of Victoria Police, protective services officer or recruit in training. Serving or retired officers who have lost a partner also receive support. Find out more at

Images Family first 01 Det Sen Const Rocco with his daughter Mia.

Legacy's First Legatee The first recipient of the Victoria Police Provident Fund Scholarship, KL Wells (pictured), is filled with gratitude for the assistance he received as a student in 1935. He described receiving the scholarship, which is now the Victoria Police Legacy Scholarship, as “the most valuable and pivotal single event in my life”. Mr Wells, now 95, was the son of a police officer in rural Victoria, who died on duty in Kyneton. He has written his autobiography, Willing but Bewildered, which he gifted to Victoria Police earlier this year. In his memoir, he recalled reading about the Police Legacy scholarships in the Police Gazette. “My parents decided that I should compete for the scholarship. I would never have thought to do it myself,” he said. “Instead of starting 1936 as an unskilled juvenile worker, I was up for secondary education, probably the first of our name to get there. “I owe gratitude for a rewarding life to the sponsors of the scholarship which gave me four years of secondary education. It created my career and my life as I know it.”

Editorial: Donna Magness Photography: Andrew Henshaw POLICE LIFE | SPRING 2018






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Sgt Johnston gets up-to-date with the latest incidents before heading out.




Sen Const Taylor and Sgt Johnston review photos from a recent investigation.


Sen Const Taylor catches up with a local business owner.

For the residents of Mallacoota, there aren’t many reasons to take the one road out of town. Nestled between the Croajingolong National Park and pristine beaches, the area has the benefit of coastal and country living combined. The charm of this small town is the reason why Sergeant Stuart Johnston has lived and worked in the area for so many years. When he first moved from his role in the Water Police to Mallacoota Police Station, he intended it to be a short stay. This plan was soon scrapped once he stepped foot in the picturesque town.

Through the colder months, things are relatively quiet. As soon as the sun comes out, Mallacoota’s population explodes, with more than 9,000 people making the trek through the winding forest road.

“Not only is poaching harmful, but it’s the other illegal activities that go with it that causes us concern.

Apart from the rise in alcohol and drug-related crimes that come with the holiday months, most of the time local police have a lot of variety in their roles.

Sen Const Preston said the practice can also negatively impact local farmers when prized cattle are shot by mistake.

“Unlicensed weapons and drugs can often go hand-in-hand with poaching.”

Senior Constable Judy Taylor spent 30 years of her life teaching before deciding to give policing a try.

Leading Senior Constable Angus Webb said the area’s crime rate is far outweighed by the positive aspects, including a strong sense of community and belonging.

She said the community focus and variety of work makes it the most rewarding job she has had.

He recalled a rewarding job which involved helping a father and his children whose boat had been swept out to sea.

“I joined the job at 53 and was the first female police officer in Mallacoota, so I was welcomed by the community with open arms,” she said.

“They were fishing in a small ‘tinny’ on the lake when a current dragged them through the entrance out to sea,” he said.

“Out here we can deal with anything from fires, floods, traffic accidents to missing persons, often covering more than 450 kilometres in a shift.

“It was getting dark quickly and the Water Police were four hours away, so I asked a local abalone driver to take me out there on his boat.

“I finally found the job I love in a place I love. I couldn’t be happier.”

“When we found them the man was intoxicated and the children were in tears.

The then-Senior Constable Johnston and his colleagues set about embedding themselves in the community.

Senior Constable Richard Preston moved to town a year ago after spending almost four years in Mildura and agreed the diversity of the role was one of the reasons he loved working in Mallacoota.

“We brought them back and processed him for being intoxicated and not having the appropriate safety equipment. All he had was two rods, six beers and some bait.

“We got involved in a number of sporting clubs and set up a surf club for young people to get involved in,” he said.

He said apart from searching for missing persons, the key incident that draws police into the rugged mountainside is poaching.

“There are a lot of artists here as well and I play the guitar, so I joined the local strum club to tap into that audience.”

“We have several weekly patrols dedicated to tracking down poachers, that’s how big an issue it is,” he said.

“When I took the job, I told myself I would spend two years here,” he said. “That was 18 years ago.” But country life wasn’t all smooth sailing at first. Sgt Johnston said when he started working at Mallacoota, there was a clear divide between police and the community. “When you’re part of a township of only 1,000 people, strong community ties are crucial,” he said. “At the time there wasn’t a lot of respect for police. No one spoke to us for the first six months.”

Sgt Johnston said their persistence paid off.

“If it wasn’t for that community member helping me out, it could have been a lot worse.” Locals will soon have a new police station, with construction currently underway. The new building is closer to the town centre, offering easier access to locals and visitors. It is anticipated to be unveiled in November.

“We were so involved in the community they had no choice but to start getting involved with us.” he said.

4:02PM Stay connected with the police in Mallacoota and surrounds at Image Good shift 01 Sgt Johnston and Sen Const Preston at a nearby forest where they are often called to assist in locating missing hikers. Editorial: Ashlee Williams Photography: Rachel Mounsey

Local school children painted this mural especially for police at Mallacoota Police Station.





G N I H T R I B E R E L C I H E V It started with a suspect shipping container and a stolen Mercedes Benz. And with it, police intelligence grew and Operation Parlors was born. In December 2016, detectives from Victoria Police’s Vehicle Crime Squad (VCS) observed a shipping container, a non-descript 40-foot box just like any other, being picked up from an auto recycling facility in Somerton, in Melbourne’s north. They tracked it to a freight yard awaiting transport to Melbourne docks. It was filled with cut-up cars and parts including two new Nissan Navaras (with a handwritten note in pink, ‘Malaysia do not touch’), a Honda Accord sedan, also cut in half, and an Audi A5, all of which had been stolen. Subsequent police intelligence uncovered that a car wrecker in Somerton was receiving stolen vehicles, ‘chopping’ some of them and exporting the parts to Malaysia, Dubai, Eygpt and Pakistan.



A nine-month investigation began into widespread vehicle theft, particularly of the luxury kind. After protracted surveillance and copious intelligence, a search warrant was executed at the factory on 4 January, last year. The business was owned and being run by an Iraqi-born Australian who was leasing the huge premises on cash terms. Among the bits and pieces of cars, police also found a cache of vehicles including a Porsche 911 Boxster that was valued at $180,000, a Mercedes Benz G Wagon valued at $230,000, a complete 2015 Mercedes Benz C200 valued at $50,000, a $40,000 BMW Z4 Roadster and cheaper cars at various stages of being dismantled.

Detective Leading Senior Constable David Atkinson was at the forefront of the investigation which took investigators into international territory. “It was a really important job because it established the intelligence and the suspicions we had that vehicles were being sent overseas. The investigation filled in our intelligence gaps,” he said. The cars were being brazenly stolen in a variety of ways and from various sources, Det Ldg Sen Const Atkinson said. “Cars were being stolen from the docks and were never registered before being delivered to the auto recycler; they were being stolen from storage or holding yards and some came from aggravated burglaries.”


Combating cloning The VCS has been working with online platforms such as Carsales and eBay to develop software to ‘cloak’ or ‘blanket’ registration plates but still provide enough information to satisfy identification requirements.

Images Crushed crime 01 A  stolen Mercedes Benz seized as part of the operation. 02 T  he non-descript blue shipping container that still managed to raise suspicions. 03 S ome of the stolen vehicles that were recovered, before they headed offshore.


The January search warrant didn’t seem to deter the determined criminal. It was the first of three warrants, with police executing a second last year on 31 March and a third on 13 August. The second time, they found two more shipping containers filled with vehicles and vehicle parts. Both of these were bound for international ports. The bold offender had continued committing the crime. It was imperative the investigators worked quickly to ascertain their evidence – once the shipping containers left Australian soil and waters, nothing more could be done investigation-wise as the stolen property would be outside Australian jurisdiction.

“The success of the investigation was in the fact that it proved a link between cars that were being stolen in aggravated burglaries were then being sold to a receiver within the automotive industry, who was then exporting the vehicles to overseas destinations including Dubai, Malaysia and Pakistan,” Det Ldg Sen Const Atkinson said. VCS’s Detective Sergeant Matthew Graefe said Operation Parlors also uncovered another criminal activity called cloning. “Cloning number plates involves car thieves using the legitimate number plate of an identical car,” he said. “So what they do after they steal a car, is search up another car that is the same make, model and colour, and manufacture that car’s registration plates, and put these on the stolen car.”

But at the end of the day, this dodgy auto wrecker and his associates didn’t get away with their crimes. Police seized enough evidence to charge and remand their primary target, and identified two others who were providing the stolen cars. Apart from the cars and car parts, police also found diary entries and invoices confirming exporting history. However, shutting down one syndicate doesn’t give the detectives a break. There’s always another investigation in the offing. “The VCS will continue to target unlicensed scrap metal operators that are believed to be driving the demand for profit-motivated thefts heading for the export market,” Det Ldg Sen Const Atkinson said.

Editorial: Donna Magness POLICE LIFE | SPRING 2018


The trauma of witnessing a crime can have a huge effect on a person, let alone their memory. The process of identifying a criminal is made easier with technology that can help put the pieces of a person’s memory together to find a face. A woman waiting at a bus stop notices a young man with no distinctive features, wearing a baseball cap, sunglasses and carrying a backpack running towards her.

Acting Senior Sergeant Bradi Owens, who heads the CIU, said technology will have a pivotal role in the next phase of facial recognition, as the quality of CCTV vision continues improving.

The mysterious person stumbles and falls to the ground but picks himself up, while making an instinctive momentary glance at the unwitting bystander, before resuming his sprint.

“There was an incident where a suspect walked into a bank and slipped a note to a teller that stated he had explosives,” she said.

The next day the commuter hears about a police appeal for witnesses to a violent bank robbery that took place near the bus stop. She realises the description of the suspect matches the man she saw running and contacts police. She is referred to the Criminal Identification Unit (CIU), where the process of unravelling an unknown identity begins. This is a common scenario of engagement for the CIU, which has become an integral part of the criminal investigation process, compiling more than 1,000 composite images annually with cutting-edge technology developed by Victoria Police. The use of composite imaging remains prevalent despite the increasing presence of closed circuit television (CCTV) providing an easily-accessible means of identification.

“We used images from the bank’s CCTV, cropped them and fed them into our database which returned a candidate list, including the suspect, from two million mug shots. “In the future, with appropriate legislation, the CIU could potentially have access to many more, through a national database of mug shots from all jurisdictions.” A/Sen Sgt Owens said this was a far cry from the unit’s humble beginning which inadvertently evolved through the artistic prowess of two former police who would sketch and draw facial images of suspects. “It began with hand-drawn sketches that later progressed to ‘Identikit’ and ‘Photofit’ systems through the drawing skills of Detective Sergeant John Rogers and Detective Sergeant Adrian Paterson, who later became the officer in charge, in 1983,” she said. 01




“Both were pioneers, with Det Sgt Rogers introducing ‘Identikit’ from the United States and Scotland Yard’s ‘Photofit’. Then later, Det Sgt Paterson developed a world-first computerbased, full colour imaging system called FACE – Facial Automated Composition and Editing.” Det Sgt Paterson, who retired from Victoria Police in 2008, said he spent several years searching for an identification option to replace the old, dilapidated Photofit system. “Victoria Police required a system that would meet the need of a diverse and multicultural population in Melbourne and I found a Victorian-based computer company to develop my ambitious program. FACE was commissioned in 1989,” he said. “Unlike systems used by other police jurisdictions, this was new technology which basically involved the use of a graphics pad and stylus that could create any offender image, limited only by what the witness could remember.” From 1989 FACE identified hundreds of offenders and was adopted by other overseas law enforcement agencies before being superseded by a new program known as Depict. The new system can upload images into a facial recognition system called iFACE to find similar identities from a database of two million Victoria Police mug shots. “iFACE can return a match of people who are biometrically similar to the composite image and the victim or witness will sift through the mug shots to identify the offender,” A/Sen Sgt Owens said. “There are a few ways that a composite image can be compiled. “Depict, the current system being used at Victoria Police, is feature-based. It begins with a blank face and we start by adding the eyes

and manipulate the face with other features and after they have all been selected by a witness, the police artist will graphically modify the image at the direction of the witness.” A/Sen Sgt Owens said the process of identification has no expectation of a witness recalling an offender solely from a portrait but it helps when they remember a characterisation or feature. “For example, most people know what Brad Pitt looks like, but if asked to describe his nose or the shape of his eyes they would find it difficult,” she said. “However, if they’re shown an array of photos and within them there’s a picture of Brad Pitt, they would be able to pick him out easily through recognition memory, which is superior.” But identifying a suspect does not always rely on the facial recognition process. “Hairstyles, clothing, scars, marks and tattoos all aid towards achieving a positive identification,” A/Sen Sgt Owens said. “It is all part of a holistic approach that reflects a commitment to this unit by Victoria Police and is unmatched by other jurisdictions.” After legendary Herald Sun political cartoonist Bill Green confronted a burglar at his home in Heathmont more than a decade ago, he offered police a valuable head-start in the search for their suspect. Homicide Squad’s Detective Leading Senior Constable Aaron Roche, a senior constable at Ringwood at the time, arrived at the property to investigate and was offered a caricature. “I thought the drawing might end up being a stick figure and I was mainly concerned with catching the offender who was still in the area,” he said.


But the sketch proved useful and led to the burglar’s arrest a short time later. “I remember the likeness was amazing,” Det Ldg Sen Const Roche said. A/Sen Sgt Owens said everyone had an ability to recall what someone looks like, with some being better at it than others. “Once you’ve got the jigsaw of features together and you start manipulating it, the resemblance is often uncanny,” she said.

Watch a video about the process of facial identifications at

Images Great likeness 01 A/Sen Sgt Owens leads the facial recognition team. 02 B  ill ‘Weg’ Green with his caricature of a burglary suspect. 03 A police photo of the person who was later convicted of the crime. Editorial: Chris Metevelis Photography: Andrew Henshaw POLICE LIFE | SPRING 2018




FINGERPRINT SCIENCES GROUP The oldest forensic crime-solving method in history is still the most commonly used to identify persons of interest in police investigations, accounting for almost 11,000 fingerprint identifications in Victoria during the last financial year. Not only are fingerprints the leading source of forensic identifications, but they are also the fastest.

New prints can be from a variety of sources, including those taken from people in police custody and for civil purposes such as visa applications.

Ongoing improvements to fingerprint examination and processes at Victoria Police’s Forensic Services Department means turnaround times for results are continuously improving.

“The national fingerprint database has the capability to continuously compare unsolved crime scene fingerprints on record with new known reference samples added to the collection,” Ms Lynch said.

“Fingerprints are one of the quickest and most reliable sources of forensic evidence used in criminal and coronial investigations,” fingerprint expert Danielle Lynch said.

This sometimes provides welcome results on unsolved and cold case investigations, and the identification of serial rapist and murderer Raymond Edmunds is a Victorian success.

And it is faster turnaround times for fingerprint results that give Victoria Police a head start on identifying and arresting possible offenders of high volume and major crimes – the quicker investigators receive the information, the sooner they can make arrests and interrupt recidivist offending.

His fingerprints were taken in NSW in 1985 and linked him to a number of serious and violent Victorian crimes committed from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Earlier this year, police in Geelong were investigating a series of home burglaries and vehicle thefts across multiple suburbs in the area. The local Fingerprint Sciences Group (FSG) was tasked with analysing the fingerprints left behind at the crime scenes and quickly linked them all to one offender. With collaboration between the Crime Scene Services Unit, an analyst and the Crime Investigation Unit, the owner of the prints was identified as a previously unknown offender. The man’s prints were linked to more than 20 crime scenes, giving police enough evidence to lay charges and stop further crimes from taking place. Victoria Police took more than 70,000 sets of fingerprints in the 2017-18 financial year that were added to the national fingerprint database, where the prints of more than five million individuals are stored. 24


But it is not an easy process to recover, analyse and match fingerprints. Becoming an expert in the field takes four to five years of on-the-job training and theory, learning photography, chemical development techniques, biology of skin and foetal development and giving opinion evidence in court. Fingerprint expert Craig Hamilton has 21 years of experience behind him. He is the team leader of the Operations Unit, responsible for examining major crime scenes and evidence recovery. “It takes a long time to develop the knowledge required to examine items for latent prints,” he said. “Our job is to get what’s not visible, examine it and make it visible.” This is done using a variety of light sources, imaging devices and chemical development techniques to examine different items.

Today, Mr Hamilton is using a forensic light source to visualise a print on a can. “Some of the most common items we examine are bottles and weapons,” he said.

While bottles, cans, paper and weapons are the most common items submitted for examination, there are some strange ones too. The team has fingerprinted skin left behind at a crime scene and recently analysed prints taken from a mandarin.

“We use different techniques to identify prints and take swabs for DNA. It used to take a couple of weeks to get a fingerprint result, but now we can provide a result to the investigating police in one day.”

One of their more difficult roles is recovering fingerprints from unidentified deceased and accident victims, which is crucial in providing intelligence and notifying families of a loss.

Mr Hamilton described an incident where the FSG was provided with a newspaper left at the scene of a rape.

Their expertise in this area has led to fingerprint experts being deployed overseas to assist with Disaster Victim Identification, most recently the 2014 Malaysia Flight 17 crash.

“We got fingerprints off the newspaper and gave the offender’s name to the police informants before the man had even arrived home,” he said. The Operations Unit is six months into a pilot program aiming to improve efficiencies in examining firearms police have seized. Firearms are swabbed for DNA before being checked for fingerprints by the fingerprint team and then analysed by a ballistics expert, all in one day.


Mr Hamilton examines a piece of paper using forensic lights.


Fingerprint trainee Axel Bryant detects fingerprints on a sawn-off shotgun and then swabs it for DNA.


Using the tried and tested method, fingerprint expert Teneille Evans examines a print with a magnifying glass.

Image Finding fingerprints Fingerprints at crime scenes are often smudged, partial or low quality. The FSG use their skills to get the best print and identify its owner. Editorial: Maria Carnovale Photography: Andrew Henshaw


Fingerprint examination uses chemicals and other forensic light sources to examine porous and non-porous items.


Fingerprint expert Caroline Davis compares a print from a crime scene with one of a known offender.


At a scene, fingerprint expert Lucy Skiller uses a portable forensic light source to examine bloodied prints on a wall. POLICE LIFE | SPRING 2018



Stronger together



Anne Howey For former Sergeant Anne Howey, living with Post–Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) means some days are better than others. On a good day, she can face going to the shopping centre to buy groceries. Other days she can’t get out of bed. Ms Howey says PTSD can be caused by different triggers depending on the individual. For her, it was the countless bodies she saw on the job and the collateral damage that came with it. “I remember my first body was an older lady and what hit me the most was the grief of the family,” she said. “Another time when I tried to take a deposition statement from a mother whose son had committed suicide, it took weeks because she broke down every 20 minutes. “When I gave the death message to the mother of a man who had died in a collision, she just started beating me.

“The sadness and loss you are exposed to can be overwhelming.”

“I used to be extremely outgoing and sociable,” she said.

While Ms Howey believes the lack of debriefing after each case was a mitigating factor in her illness, she also believes one particularly brutal case sparked her downward spiral.

“When I got PTSD, I couldn’t leave the house, answer the phone or even pay a bill.

“I was the first responder to one of serial killer Peter Dupas’ murders, which was a horrific scene,” she said. “What struck me was that Nicole Patterson was the same age as me and she lived in a house alone with her dog, which is what I was doing too.

“I was no longer myself. I was just a shell.” Despite the trauma, Ms Howey still shows great strength and courage. She has dedicated the last three years to rebuilding her life and though the road to recovery may be long, she’s determined to get better.

“I remember going home that night and not sleeping at all.

She also talks about her life story at the Victoria Police Academy in the hopes of educating recruits and current police on the importance of wellbeing.

“The randomness of that case frightened me, because how can I go to a scene like that and tell myself I’m safe?”

“I tell the recruits that what we do for a living isn’t normal and everyone will react differently to a job, and that’s okay,” Ms Howey said.

Ms Howey said PTSD changed her entire personality and rendered her unable to live a normal life.

“It’s okay to ask for help when you need it.”

A career in policing brought two colleagues together, leaving them with a friendship that has strengthened despite shared trauma.

Leading Senior Constable Natalie Dean When Leading Senior Constable Natalie Dean met Ms Howey at the Northcote Police Station in 1998, she looked up to the senior officer. “She was a fantastic copper,” Ldg Sen Const Dean said. “I was junior to Anne but I modelled what I wanted to be on her. “A lot of people did.” When two of their colleagues were killed in a collision, Ms Howey and Ldg Sen Const Dean were seen by their fellow female colleagues as mentors. Ldg Sen Const Dean said they felt it was their responsibility to rally the team and ignore their own grief. She said she didn’t know about the symptoms of PTSD at the time, so she didn’t see the signs when Ms Howey was struggling. “We were good friends and I knew her well, but I didn’t know much about PTSD,” she said.

Seek help

“We used to have regular catch ups and she’d always cancel at the last minute. “If I knew what she was going through, I would have picked up the phone and asked her how she was going.” Ldg Sen Const Dean now works at Victoria Police’s Media Unit and said education about mental health was crucial to help prevent others slipping through the cracks. “We spend eight hours with one another on the van and you see some awful things together, so you’re going to notice when your workmate is changing,” she said. “That’s why it’s so important to know how to see the signs. “Even if you can’t provide the help they need, you can tell someone who can.” Now that Ldg Sen Const Dean knows about Ms Howey’s illness, she is doing everything she can to help her friend recover, including supporting her to attend an interview for this article.

In an emergency call Triple Zero (000). If you, or someone you know, need to speak to a trained professional, a number of services are available: Lifeline – 13 11 14 or visit Beyondblue – 1300 224 636 Read about how Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton and The Police Association of Victoria's Wayne Gatt are trekking across the state to raise money for the new Victoria Police Provident Fund’s Mental Health Fund. Read more on page 3. Watch Ldg Sen Const Dean and Ms Howey talk about their experience at Image Support for friends Ldg Sen Const Dean (on left) and Ms Howey have an unbreakable bond. Editorial: Ashlee Williams Photography: Ana Raica POLICE LIFE | SPRING 2018


SMALL ITEMS FOR BIG IMPACT Women and children fleeing violence at home have benefited from the efforts of Women in Police Local Committees (WIPLC) who banded together to provide much-needed household items. A group of police women from Crime, Intelligence and Covert Support, Counter Terrorism, People Development and North West Metro Division 1 came together to create ‘Bags of Love’ for Impact, an independent charity. Intelligence and Covert Support Command’s Superintendent Lauren Callaway said the WIPLC was responsible for the effort. “One of the objectives of our WIPLC is to influence and inform gender-focused initiatives – so it is very pleasing to be able to extend that to the community as well,” she said.

“Impact is a completely volunteer charity that provides a wide range of support to women and children across all ethnicities and religions that have experienced family violence.

“The power of a collaborative approach was really on show, but it took a lot of drive and coordination to get the momentum and see it come to life.

“There was a strong connection to WIPLC’s values, and the focus that Victoria Police has more broadly on addressing family violence.”

“All involved should be congratulated for the result.

The group put a call out for staff to donate toiletries such as shampoo and conditioner, sanitary items, shavers, tooth brushes and pastes, toiletry bags and other bathroom items.

“It has also demonstrated how the women in police networks can support each other and interact with all Victoria Police employees, and sets a platform for more meaningful initiatives into the future.”

Sixteen large tubs of goods were filled and contributed to Impact creating 1,000 gift bags, as well as bigger donation packages for shelters including objects for setting up a new home, children's items, bedding and more. “It was an amazing sustained effort that was driven by the women of crime,” Supt Callaway said. Image Big impact The 'bags of love' were distributed to women in need. Editorial: Jonathan Green Photography: David Jacobs



FROM MASTER CHEF TO PSO He cut his teeth in some of Europe’s finest kitchens with an impressive gastronomic résumé that led to work in a popular Melbourne restaurant owned by a celebrity chef. But now Protective Services Officer (PSO) Aristotelis Zografos, appears a world away from his previous job as he patrols a metropolitan train station. “I’ve been really fortunate and I feel very privileged to have been given this opportunity to work in the community and help people,” he said. “A PSO is like being part of a small family, it’s an organisation that is very supportive of you as a team member, with great resources.” This extraordinary transition from the kitchen to a transit beat was inspired through a recruitment campaign last year that coincided with a zest for a career change. PSO Zografos, who was born in the Greek city of Thessaloniki, launched his career as a teenager cooking in his father’s restaurant,

before becoming a qualified sous-chef and working in five-star restaurants in Greece, Sweden and Cyprus. “After three years as a chef in Cyprus I decided to come to Melbourne on a student visa to pursue my remaining qualification, a diploma as a pastry chef, but soon after enrolling at a college in Preston, I was asked to work in one of George Calombaris’ restaurants,” he said. “George sponsored my employment visa and I continued working in his restaurant after I gained permanent residency, totaling more than three years.” But after 10 years pacing the floors in some of the world’s elite kitchens, dishing out exquisite cuisine, PSO Zografos is now patrolling the platforms of Melbourne’s railway stations and serving expiation notices. “I was thinking, ‘I have to do something else, I can’t be doing this for the rest of my life’, and when I saw a television advert for PSOs and was encouraged by a friend to apply, I thought, ‘why not?’”

PSO Zografos graduated in November, having specifically applied for a PSO role. “I find this job very rewarding and satisfying talking to people and helping them in any way I can,” he said. PSO Zografos said he feels content and very satisfied with what his new job brings and although there are no immediate plans to change, he has considered pursuing a role as an intelligence officer.

Find out how you can join Victoria Police as a police officer, PSO, police custody officer, or public service employee at Image New beat PSO Zografos seamlessly went from kitchen to platform. Editorial: Chris Metevelis Photography: Andrew Henshaw POLICE LIFE | SPRING 2018



A peer like no other

Known for his fearlessness, former Senior Constable Gary Storer told Police Life’s Maria Carnovale how memories of crime scenes and criminals haunt him, but how they are also helping him to help others.

Senior Constable Gary Storer could always be relied upon. If there was an armed offender on the run, he was first to jump out in pursuit. When he got a call about a man armed with a shotgun, he didn’t hesitate; he got in the police car, headed to the scene and did what he was trained to do. He pushed his fears aside for many years as a senior constable in the various country towns he worked in during the 1980s. These days, Mr Storer’s wife, Lesley, tells him that he sometimes roams the house with a torch in darkness while he sleeps. It is one of several stories she tells of his sleep activities.

That incident did not end well with the man ending his own life. The conversations Sen Const Storer had with the man throughout the evening are as clear to him today as they were back then. Afterwards his boss told him he had to visit the police psychologist, and he did so, grudgingly. “I was sceptical,” he said. “I didn’t stop to think about it. I just couldn’t let people down, I went back and kept working. “I didn’t realise it at the time, but looking back now, I was very unwell.” Just months later, he was called to a murder in St Germains in the middle of the night. Alone, he arrived at the scene to find the culprit and arrested him. The victim, a woman who was bleeding profusely, was at the front of the property, being attended to by ambulance officers. Sen Const Storer went inside the house where he couldn’t find a light switch and – eerily similar to his sleepwalking episodes – with only a torch and pistol raised in the darkness, searched for a possible second offender. He found the woman’s children in the house, unharmed, but witnesses to the horrific scene.

Diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in 2016, Mr Storer is getting help and has found there is a network of support for him and others through Victoria Police’s Retired Peer Support Officer program.

While the Homicide Squad made their way, Sen Const Storer questioned the man in the back of his police car with a small cassette recorder he’d uncharacteristically picked up as he left the station on his way to the scene.

Mr Storer grew up in Hamilton and joined Victoria Police as an 18-year-old in 1976. He was soon-to-be married with a child on the way when he began his training at the Victoria Police Academy.

The man confessed and the recording meant it was an “open and shut case”.

He went on to work in Malvern and Caulfield, then to country areas, including Colac, Hamilton and Kyabram. It was in those country towns where he spent most of his policing career that he endured crime scenes and accidents that even 30 years later replay in his mind. During the process of his healing, he has been able to pinpoint some incidents that had a massive impact on him. He recalls having been confronted by a man armed with a shotgun, in a face-off for an hour and a half, with his own finger holding tight to the trigger of his shotgun at the offender.


It was a long, intense stand-off where Sen Const Storer battled with the possibility of being shot, protecting his colleague who was also within shooting range, and dreading having to kill the man himself.


Every day policing involved attending road fatalities, notifying the families, clearing the scene, sometimes even driving the ambulance to the hospital while the ambulance officer worked in the back. Even with the memories that plague his thoughts, Mr Storer still speaks fondly of his time as a police officer. “I absolutely loved it. I ate, slept and breathed policing, upholding the law,” he said. While Mr Storer recalls the devastation of Ash Wednesday in 1983, he also remembers being able to help a family that had lost everything to the fires.

Working in Colac at the time, he was sent to the Otways to search for a missing woman. He came across two men looting a shed, one of few buildings still standing. “I’ll never forget their names, the boot of their car was full of tools and other items they’d stolen from a family that I know had nothing left after the fires.” Other good memories remain – particularly running the Colac Blue Light Discos and volunteering to run police social clubs. His management skills put him in good stead for life after policing, where he went on to run two successful small businesses – a cleaning company and financial planning business – before moving into sales. “The disciplines instilled at the Academy and throughout my time in the job really set me up to do those things,” he said. “Management, organisation, being articulate with good communication skills, they all set me up to succeed.” These days Mr Storer volunteers, spending time with elderly people in aged care facilities, while being a retired peer support officer. He said he is now in a position where he can lend a helping hand to other former police who are battling. “There’s no other job where you can develop a bond like that with your workmates. “Having been through what I’d been through, I realised the importance of supporting people like me. “I thought I might help someone, and in turn that could one day save someone’s life.” In the past year that he has provided peer support he has been called upon to help four former police. “We’ll usually meet in a public place, somewhere quiet, private,” he said. “They can talk to someone who understands what they're feeling and I’m all ears. “They’ve made the first step by seeking help and that’s the most important part. “Over time what helped me was believing in my ability to achieve. I learnt that in the job.” Seek help In an emergency call Triple Zero (000). If you, or someone you know, need to speak to a trained professional, a number of services are available: Lifeline – 13 11 14 or visit Beyondblue – 1300 224 636


Retired Peer Support Officers About 60 former police volunteer their time to support their former colleagues experiencing a range of mental health and other issues through the Retired Peer Support Officer program. The program has helped more than 700 police since 2014. The confidential program is coordinated by former police officers Vicki Key and Mick Cummins and Victoria Police employee Michelle Birkic. Find out more about the Retired Peer Support Network at

Read about how Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton and The Police Association’s Wayne Gatt are trekking across Victoria to support police mental health on page 3.

Image Looking forward Mr Storer said his wife was his biggest support throughout his policing career and afterwards. Editorial and photography: Maria Carnovale



Police Life SPRING 2018  
Police Life SPRING 2018