Lessons learnt in Ian Col­lett search

Canning Times - - NEWS -

WA Po­lice Ex­cel­lence Award re­cip­i­ent Se­nior Sergeant Dar­ryl Bran­dis says po­lice are de­ter­mined to im­prove their search ca­pa­bil­i­ties in the wake of the Ian Col­lett op­er­a­tion.

Sgt Bran­dis won the in­di­vid­ual cat­e­gory at the awards last week, thanks in part to his role in the search for the late Can­ning Vale grand­fa­ther, who lived with de­men­tia and dis­ap­peared in May.

The Mundi­jong Po­lice of­fi­cer-in-charge said po­lice wanted to de­velop new strate­gies to aid fu­ture large-scale ef­forts to lo­cate miss­ing peo­ple.

“One of the of­fi­cers who was a fam­ily li­ai­son of­fi­cer for the Col­letts has been quite in­spired by this search and an­other search I did and he’s do­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion to the Po­lice Com­mis­sioner on new ways of lo­cat­ing peo­ple who have got a cog­ni­tive im­pair­ment,” he said.

“He went over to Amer­ica, saw how they search for peo­ple there and he’s come back with a cou­ple of ideas.

“One of the se­nior sergeants, who was in the emer­gency man­age­ment unit, is putting for­ward an­other thing to the com­mis­sioner – it’s a bracelet peo­ple can wear.”

Sgt Bran­dis said the search for Mr Col­lett, who was found de­ceased in bush­land in June, was one of the largest op­er­a­tions he had been in­volved in his 20-year ca­reer.

He said po­lice had taken away some im­por­tant lessons.

“There’s re­ally quite a pos­i­tive out­look now, to see if we can stop some­one else from be­ing the next Ian Col­lett,” he said.

“Be­cause it was so com­plex with the num­ber of sites we went to, and we were at one stage run­ning two com­mand cen­tres at the same time, that set a new bench­mark.

“Now they can look at that at emer­gency man­age­ment and hope­fully it helps peo­ple in the fu­ture.”

Sgt Bran­dis, who said he was hum­bled to win the award, was re­united with Ian Col­lett’s wife Deb­o­rah at the cer­e­mony and he com­mended her strength.

“This month would have been Ian’s birth­day, it would’ve been their an­niver­sary this month and also Christ­mas,” he said.

“It was an in­ter­est­ing time to catch up with Deb­o­rah; we both just re­flected on the whole thing and how it panned out. She’s do­ing re­ally well; she’s such a brave lady to have been there and re­live all of that over again – I don’t know if I would’ve done that.”

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