Grassroots officer takes the top gong

Sam JonesNorth West Telegraph
Officer of the Year: Sergeant Shelley Marklew
Camera IconOfficer of the Year: Sergeant Shelley Marklew

A Hedland police officer committed to reducing juvenile offending and family violence has been named the State’s best.

South Hedland’s Sergeant Shelley Marklew, pictured, was announced as Police Officer of the Year at the WA Police Excellence Awards last week, for her efforts leading joint agency initiatives focused on social issues in the Pilbara town.

Working with families and community groups, programs such as the school attendance bus and the creation of the South Hedland Community Action Team have promoted grassroots police work, which has enabled a growing trust between police and the public in Hedland.

Sgt Marklew, whose husband Sen. Sgt Jeremy Marklew is officer-in-charge of South Hedland police station, said she was happy to receive the award but hoped people would also recognise the work of her team, as well as the wider community effort.

“The award gave an opportunity to reflect back on what we as a team and station have achieved this year and relationships we’ve built within the station and the community,” she said.

“After the award was presented I had the opportunity to speak about Hedland police. Nerves really took a back seat as I was able to speak with great pride and confidence in the work we are doing.

“The award is clearly not the result of individual work, I reconciled receiving the nomination and award with accepting it on behalf of all involved.”

Sergeant Shelley Marklew and her team
Camera IconSergeant Shelley Marklew and her team

Sgt Marklew said the Mirnukaru School Attendance Strategy — which translates to learning — was a significant part of the award. “It was a great opportunity to share how the strategy had started, where it is now, and the impact it is having on families in our community — giving an insight into the wonderful people involved, from the partners and services to the support of the community,” she said.

Since its inception, the strategy, which includes a free bus that delivers children to school from surrounding communities, there has been a 30 per cent reduction in juvenile-related crime and almost 1400 additional days of school attendance.

Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma elder Maureen Kelly praised the efforts of the whole South Hedland police department, saying in a recent interview the police had worked to involve the wider community when there were problems.

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