Go­ing be­yond po­lice du­ties

Po­lice of­fi­cer cre­ates strong con­nec­tions with chil­dren

Maroochy Weekly - - LOCAL LIFE - Danielle Ford Danielle.Ford@sc­news.com.au

SE­NIOR Con­sta­ble Joanne MacA­dam uses her role in the com­mu­nity to build strong con­nec­tions be­tween po­lice and chil­dren.

She hopes to be a strong role model for the younger gen­er­a­tion and pro­vide a safe place for them to seek help if re­quired. Her work as Bud­erim Moun­tain State School’s Adopt-a-Cop has been recog­nised with a ma­jor award.

Full story in­side.

THROUGH­OUT her years as a po­lice of­fi­cer, Se­nior Con­sta­ble Joanne MacA­dams has of­ten faced dif­fi­cult and un­pleas­ant sit­u­a­tions.

So for her, the work she does as Bud­erim Moun­tain State School’s Adopt-a-Cop is her favourite part of the job.

“It’s dif­fer­ent from the av­er­age po­lice work, it’s nice to ac­tu­ally deal in pos­i­tive in­ter­ac­tions with peo­ple,” she said.

The most im­por­tant part is sim­ply be­ing around so the chil­dren know they can come to her for any­thing.

“I want kids to come to us if they’re scared or they’re lost or any­thing like that. I don’t want them to be scared of us,” Joanne said.

“Be­ing in the school and around the school and wav­ing to the kids and giv­ing them a high five, it breaks down those bar­ri­ers with the kids, they know they feel safe and we’re fun to be around.”

On top of or­gan­is­ing the Walk To School Pro­gram, she also vol­un­teers a great deal of time for other school ac­tiv­i­ties.

“I go in and read books to the kids in class, I help out with the Shine pro­gram where I talk about things like cy­ber crime and a pos­i­tive out­look for the girls,” she said.

❝It’s dif­fer­ent from av­er­age po­lice work, it’s nice to ac­tu­ally deal in pos­i­tive in­ter­ac­tion with peo­ple.

Joanne’s work with the school and the chil­dren has made her a pop­u­lar fig­ure around town and she is con­stantly be­ing stopped in the street for a chat.

“A lot of it is the kids just see­ing me around the school. Like if I walk past and they’re out on the oval, how they’ll all come up to the fence and wave and yell at me and I’ll be wav­ing back, that sort of in­ter­ac­tion,” she said.

“If I’m at the bus stop, they al­ways say hello and it’s good to see the kids are happy to say hello and ask how my day’s go­ing and that sort of thing.”

Her ded­i­ca­tion to not just the school, but the wider Bud­erim com­mu­nity, landed her the 2017 Sun­shine Coast Dis­trict Adopt-a-Cop of the year ti­tle.

While recog­ni­tion is not the rea­son she does the work, she says it was hum­bling to win.

“Know­ing that I’m hav­ing the right ef­fect is al­ways nice to know, that you’re do­ing the right thing,” she said. “It’s hum­bling, I’ve not ever had any­thing like that be­fore.”

Joanne said re­gard­less of awards and recog­ni­tion, the work she did meant a lot to her as chil­dren needed strong adult fig­ures to look up to.

“I think it’s im­por­tant that kids have strong role mod­els be­cause, un­for­tu­nately, there’s a lot of neg­a­tive stuff out there that hap­pens,” she said.

“While they need to know about that, it’s good to have strong role mod­els for kids to look up to and they can feel that they can come and talk to.”

In­quiries to 5445 1661.

Words by Danielle Ford

PHOTO: PA­TRICK WOODS

SCHOOL TIES: Se­nior Con­sta­ble Joanne MacA­dams builds trust be­tween po­lice and chil­dren.

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