Did you always plan on becoming a man in uniform?
Yes, I have always wanted to be in the police force. I like the idea of being able to make a difference in the community by helping people.
Why did you decide to pursue a role within the Critical Incident Response Team?
I was in the Australian Army before I joined the police force and I loved the physicality, mateship and teamwork of that job. I joined the Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) because it has these same qualities.
How do people react when you tell them you work for Victoria Police?
People are generally interested in the job and ask a lot of questions. I find that I get a lot of people asking hypothetical questions about traffic offences which makes me laugh.
What training or studies were you required to complete?
To join the Critical Incident Response Team I was required to go through some pretty tough testing both physically and mentally. The initial course was six weeks of training based mostly around tactical policing and weapons training. After that I also completed the close personal protection course and negotiator course.
The negotiator training course was extremely tough because we were put in some very stressful situations including suicide intervention and hostage negotiation. In these scenarios, every word that comes out of your mouth could potentially mean the difference between life and death.
Wow, so what would you say is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job would have to be the other CIRT members who I work with. I am lucky to be working with such a good group of people.
What is the most challenging part of what you do?
I am currently an acting sergeant which means I am responsible for coordinating CIRT deployments all over Victoria as the need arises. This can be pretty challenging in itself. Only recently I was at a job in Melbourne when I received a call from police in Wodonga requesting assistance to arrest a male.
This male was armed with a knife threatening to harm himself and police. I had to organise a plane to fly us there whilst still attending to the job I was involved with. The planning for these jobs is probably the most challenging part for me. No job is ever the same and I need to keep the team safe to ensure that everyone goes home at the end of a shift.
What has been a career highlight for you?
My favourite part of CIRT is our Close Personal Protection capability. I have had the opportunity to perform close personal protection for some high profile world leaders. I have found myself having dinner with the US Ambassador, sharing a coffee at a café with the Israeli Ambassador and buying McDonalds with the Prime Minister.
What skills and personal qualities make a good CIRT member?
To be a good CIRT member you need to be passionate about the job, motivated, disciplined, driven to succeed and be able to work well in a team environment.
So much of what we do relies heavily on a high standard of individual performance along with strong teamwork. It’s like a game of football; everyone has a position to play in order for the team to win the game.
Do you have any advice for readers dreaming of becoming a member of the CIRT?
Go out and get some life experience. Join a sporting team or a volunteer group so you can get some interaction with the community. I would say to anyone dreaming of joining the CIRT to go for it. Anything is possible if you are prepared to do the hard work to get there.