Around the World

These articles feature a comparative look at policing across the globe. 

Around the World 1.1: Making Lives Safer – A Cop’s Career on the Thin Blue Line

Source: Sharples, S. (2012, February 29). Making lives safer—A cop’s career on the thin blue line. Parramatta Advertiser. Sydney, Australia. Edition: 1—Main Book, Section: Features, Page: 099. Record Number: PAG_T-20120229-1-099-823321. Copyright, 2012, Nationwide News Pty Limited.

One incident in the career of Sergeant Greg Donaldson stands out as he reflects over his 23 years as a police officer in Australia.

“When I was a dog handler there was a young nine-year-old girl who was abducted by a convicted murderer and I turned up to Mount Druitt and had to drive up to the Queensland border as soon as I could,” he said.

“With the help of two Aboriginal trackers, we tracked for the next 12 hours overnight and recovered the girl safe and well. Given the guy’s form there is no doubt in my mind she would have been killed at some time and we saved her life that night.”

Sergeant Donaldson joined the police force because he has a good sense of what’s right and wrong and he stayed on because he enjoys the diversity of police work. Over the years, Donaldson has been a street cop, an undercover officer, and a dog handler. He notes that in private business you can change employment to enjoy different experiences, while in policing you can do a variety of things while remaining a police officer. “You don’t have to change supers and you accumulate your long service leave. It’s good.”

Donaldson concludes, “No two days are the same, no two jobs are the same, and the mates you make, the blokes who cover your back and back you up and sit by you for hours, there are not many jobs that build those friendships and trust.”

  1. Considering the negative press surrounding law enforcement, what can police agencies do to interest the right kinds of people in a law enforcement career?
  2. Police officers are often forced to work long hours doing a thankless job. What can law enforcement agencies do to keep their officers interested and motivated?