Police Voice

September 23, 2023


Police News

Officer farewells police family after 40-year career

Officer farewells police family after 40-year career

A black and white photo of an officer tipping his hat.
Sergeant Dave McDougall will farewell the QPS in September after 40 years in the job.

Policing hasn’t just been a job for Sergeant Dave McDougall, it’s been a way of life.

In a couple of weeks he will retire from the Queensland Police Service (QPS) after 40 years in a job that has taken him from one end of the state to the other.

Job satisfaction, endless variety and belonging to a supportive ‘police family’ are all high on his list of reasons for making policing his lifelong career.

“The variety of roles I’ve undertaken within policing and the different challenges they presented have always kept my interest,” Sergeant McDougall said.

“There is the job security aspect too, because there is always someone, somewhere, doing something wrong.”

“I don’t know of any other job where you can go to work, jump in a car with your mates, drive around looking for trouble and get paid to do it.”

Sergeant McDougall said he knew he wanted to be a police officer from the age of 11.

“Our house had been broken into and, amongst other things, my pocket money was stolen.

“The Beaudesert police caught the offenders and so I decided that’s what I wanted to do—help people and catch the bad guys.”

A police shaking hands with a seated police officer
Sergeant McDougall graduated from the QPS Academy on August 6, 1982, aged 19.

He was sworn-in at the age of 19 after graduating from the QPS Academy at Oxley in 1982 and said his career had been quite a ride at times.

“I’ve engaged in emergent driving, fast running and fence jumping and I’ve commandeered cars, a boat, a quad bike, a steam train and a kayak to chase down offenders,” he said.

“I don’t know of any other job where you can go to work, jump in a car with your mates, drive around looking for trouble and get paid to do it.”

Sergeant McDougall liked ‘catching the bad guys’ so much that on March 19, 1993, he drove from Dayboro to Mango Hill to apprehend an armed bank robber, by himself—a feat acknowledged with an Assistant Commissioner’s Certificate.

Sergeant McDougall has had 13 different postings during his policing career, which have taken him the length of the state, from the Gold Coast to Burketown in the Gulf of Carpentaria, and have involved a diverse range of roles.

Currently working at the Policelink call centre at Zillmere, he keenly remembers his very first posting at Mount Isa.

“I was looking for adventure, so after completing in-service training at Brisbane City Station and Broadbeach Mobiles from 1982-1983, I informed the inspector that I was willing to go anywhere.

“A week later, I packed everything I owned into my car and ventured to Mount Isa for two years of great memories.

“My wife and I found each other in Mount Isa, and I still refer to Karen as ‘the special of the week’ as she worked at Coles at the time.”

Sergeant McDougall spent almost half of his police service based at regional and remote stations, and his wife Karen and two daughters Anita and Jaclyn had the opportunity to see Queensland and experience life in small communities.

“Our goal was to liaise and integrate with our communities and leave them better off than when we arrived,” he said.

“Becoming involved with the community is key to providing an effective policing presence, and over the years Karen and I joined or commenced numerous community organisations, many of which are still active today.”  

Working at regional and remote stations also gave Sergeant McDougall insight into some of the challenges faced by officers and their families in times of need when they were far from the range of services available in the city.

He and his wife became involved in the charity Community Supporting Police (CSP), which provides both financial and physical support to all members of the police family in times of illness, trauma and stress.

One way CSP helps officers and their families is by providing free accommodation close to hospitals if they need to travel to major cities for treatment.

“Our involvement in CSP enabled us to give back to our police family by fundraising and helping to develop services to directly provide support,” he said.

“CSP raises funds through donations and by selling merchandise such as ‘Koala Cops’, and some of the first Koala Cop uniforms were made at our police residence at Dayboro.”

Throughout his policing career, Sergeant McDougall has found that the QPS values of integrity, community, professionalism, respect and fairness have guided his interactions with people from all walks of life. 

“You meet people in their worst hour—people who may see you as the enemy and people who are relying on you for help.

“I’ve found that honesty and fairness go a long way in life and especially in this job.”

“Following these principles has afforded me some of my closest friends, including people I’ve met and helped at jobs throughout my career.”

Despite being devoted to policing, after 40 years in the job Sergeant McDougall is looking forward to retirement on his 60th birthday.

“Life will be one big holiday, allowing us the time to travel, time to spend with family and friends, and time to sleep in.

“It has been a privilege to be a part of the police family, sharing in the victories as well as the grief experienced by so many dedicated officers.

“Every time I hear a distant siren or see a POLAIR helicopter charging overhead, I’ll feel the adrenaline rush, wonder what job awaits, and hope it all ends well for them.”

Source link

About Author

PV Press

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *