By LACHLAN MOORHEAD
THE boys and girls in blue couldn’t do what they do without their families.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius made a special point to thank these family members when he attended the Southern Metro Division 3 Awards Ceremony on Thursday, where officers from throughout Casey, Cardinia and Dandenong were formally recognised with service medals and certificates.
“I’m a dad. I’ve got a seven-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old daughter and I’ve got a loving wife and I can’t do, and my colleagues can’t do what they do, without the love and support of their families,” Asst Comm Cornelius told the guests gathered at the City of Casey council chambers.
“And our commitment and our sacrifice in service to the community is as much your commitment and your sacrifice. We miss birthdays, we miss special school performances, we miss the odd anniversary – we hope not to but we do.
“There are those key points in our lives where our work life, our vocations, and our commitment to serving the community comes first and that comes at some cost to our families.
“The acknowledgement of your loved ones in the blue is also in part an acknowledgement of your service, your commitment and your sacrifice.”
About 70 female and male officers from the three municipalities were recognised at the ceremony, with a range of service and bravery awards handed out.
A large group of Justices of the Peace were also awarded commendations for their selfless contribution to helping run police stations throughout the Division 3 region.
“Having a Mum or a Dad who’s a police officer is a very special thing and I just want each of you to know, you should be very proud of your mum or dad,” Asst Comm Cornelius said.
“They do a really important job, they keep other kids and other mums safe, they look after the community and they make the community a better place because of what they do.
“So when you go to school tomorrow, make sure you share with your mates just how proud you are of your mum and dad.”
The importance of family and keeping loved ones safe was certainly a theme for the afternoon.
When introducing the awards, Superintendent Russell Barrett made a particular mention of the work the Division 3 officers had been doing in relation to curbing family violence, working in a region where that type of crime was notoriously high.
“We’re also state’s leaders in term of reducing the trends around repeat victims of family violence and people who repeatedly perpetrate family violence crime onto their partners or children or family members,” Supt Barrett said.
“It’s something that we are focused on here and I just want to acknowledge the effort of everyone in this division for their continued commitment to reducing the harm caused by family violence.
“We have a lot of work to do, we cannot lose sight of that, but for a moment in time I think we should all take a moment to just reflect on the journey so far and how much effort’s gone in to making inroads with family violence.”