Country policing in the blood of top cop
After two-and-a-half years of running South Hedland Police Station, Senior Sergeant Dean Snashall is leaving town.
For Sen. Sgt Snashall, country policing has always been in his blood.
“I left the metropolitan area in 1999 and other than one quick stint back for four years in Mandurah, I’ve been around regional WA my whole career,” he said.
Sen. Sgt Snashall moved to Hedland in 2015 with his wife and two children after running stations in Exmouth, Mandurah, and Norseman. He said living in South Hedland had provided his family with opportunities he would not ordinarily get as an officer in the metropolitan area.
“It’s not everyone’s cup of tea to work country but I can honestly say the rewards you get working in regional WA far outweigh metropolitan,” he said.
“It’s such a big move for people to do but 99 per cent of people that feel anxious or don’t want to move to the country, get there and can understand why they’ve done it and I was one of those.
“It’s a very rewarding job and you get to see the State ... our job is so diverse; you don’t know what you’re going to do one day to the next.”
Sen. Sgt Snashall said it was a “whole different kettle of fish” in the country — particularly in Hedland, where he has formed relationships with key stakeholders and community members.
“Our staff are like family here, we socialise here, we know everyone very well, we look after each other because we don’t have the support you’d have in the metropolitan area,” he said.
“I’ve got contacts and friends in just about every town in the State because I’ve worked in so many places and South Hedland will be the same.”
During his time as officer-in-charge, Sen. Sgt Snashall has made some significant progress in the safety of the community.
He said cultural awareness issues in the station was an area he wanted to target when he arrived because the employment of Aboriginal people within WA Police had declined in recent years.
One of his proudest achievements was employing three indigenous community relations officers, which manifested in improved relationships with Aboriginal people in the community.
“I’m proud to say we now have three really good Aboriginal employees from here in town that are doing really good work in both the cultural awareness space of my staff but also community work,” he said.
Sen. Sgt. Snashall said he was confident after the recent announcement of permanent extra resources, that the station was in a good position moving forward.
“I think the path for the new staff here is going to be a lot easier,” he said.
Sen. Sgt Snashall will be working in the metropolitan area.
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