Recognition for top cop

By Charlotte Wooldridge | posted on June 26, 2020

MOUNT Barker officer-in-charge Sergeant David Johnson has been awarded a Certificate of Outstanding Performance by WA Police, recognising his work and involvement with the community.

Sgt Johnson became part of the Mt Barker Police Station in late 2018 and began work on fully immersing himself in the community, becoming the driving force behind the inaugural Mountains and Murals Festival last year, as well as helping establish the beginnings of the Mount Barker Community Centre.

Great Southern Police District’s Superintendent Ian Clarke said it was important for WA Police to recognise the work that Sgt Johnson has undertaken while at the station.

“For me, it epitomises what we see as a country police officers’ role, particular an officer-in-charge,” he said.

“He’s somebody who’s not just there enforcing the law, but he’s also there enriching the community as much as he possibly can, and that’s working on various projects within that community to try and improve the environment for everybody.”

Sgt Johnson said he was humbled by the whole experience and was hard-pressed to pick a favourite moment from his time at the Mt Barker station so far.

“Establishing the Mount Barker Community Centre has been a highlight, obviously COVID derailed that a little bit, but we’re just about to start up again in a couple weeks and move forward,” he said.

“The fact that from the wider community we’ve received an anonymous donor who’s contributed cash to help with some programs really highlights the level of community spirit in town.

“The Mountains and Murals Festival was just amazing for the Shire council and the community to roll with me on an idea that I had and put it together in such a short time.”

A second Mountains and Murals Festival is scheduled for January 2021, which will see 10 visiting War Dogs from the USA, Canada and the UK.

Sgt Johnson said there were more projects underway that will continue to benefit the community.

“We’re doing some work now with the Shire and Impact Services in Albany to look at job creation for young Indigenous people which is another exciting project,” he said.

“There’s a lot going on and it doesn’t all relate to policing in a direct manner, but the end result is that everything I do will have an impact onto police into the future.

“I’ve always had the opinion, and certainly learnt it the longer I was in the job, that you can’t arrest your way out of crime.”

Supt Clarke said while WA Police were limited in the ways they can reward their employees, it was essential to make sure their officers know they’re appreciated.

“We’re not in the position where we can give them monetary gain or anything like that like people can in private industry with a bonus or something like that, but in fairness, we need to recognise when people do really great work,” he said.

“Dave’s been innovative in what he’s come up with, and it’s not just something that he’s come up with in Mount Barker, it’s with stuff he did previously in Kellerberrin as well.

“We’re just lucky that we have people like him working for us in the Great Southern.”