Star for injured officer
MEDAL FOR OFFICER DECADES AFTER BASHING
PORT Kennedy resident and former police officer Christopher Smith (OAM) was bashed by bikies in Mount Lawley in 1984.
He was 34 when he received the skull fractures that nearly killed him.
Luckily Mr Smith survived, but it led to the end of his career as a police officer two years later.
Mr Smith was one of 78 Western Australian police officers honoured on August 4 with the newly introduced Police Star Medal.
The medal recognises police officers who have died or were seriously injured in the line of duty.
“The Police Commissioner apologised and said it (the award) was a long time coming,” Mr Smith said.
“It’s early days but it’s a start.
“The officers now need monetary recognition for what they lost.”
Mr Smith was a married father-of-four when he was injured.
The nature of his injuries meant he was never able to take part in paid full-time work again.
He was able to convert his superannuation into a pension, but he and his wife divorced.
Mr Smith said for people with post traumatic stress disorder, an award like this “can mean so much”.
“They’re the ones who need to be looked after,” he said.
“Unfortunately some commit suicide; police on duty don’t know what they’re going to see.”
Mr Smith recounted the time he attended a traffic accident.
The young mum who had been driving hit a traffic embankment and flipped, killing her and her baby.
It was the middle of summer and their bodies had been inside the car for a few hours by the time he arrived.
Mr Smith said he was happy for Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan to present his medal as they used to go on patrol together.
Forced retirement was not wasted on Mr Smith.
He has been a Justice of the Peace for 29 years and volunteered for organisations in Rockingham.
Mr Smith was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2010 and the Pride of Australia Medal 2014.
Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan with Christopher Smith.