My life as a police officer by Desi (Despina Amerikanos)

I grew up…

In a very close family of six, I lived with my three older protective brothers, mother and father. To begin with we all lived in a small flat above the family’s fish and chip shop before moving into the house my father built at 7. My father is a Greek immigrant and my mother, a descendant of a convict.

My first job…

Was working in my parent’s fish and chip shop, I was also my father’s number one tradesmen helping him do renovations.

I left school…

At the end of year 12 at St Patricks College and began studying at university to become a Paramedic. I had applied for Police, Fire and Ambulance all within a month.

I knew I wanted to be a police officer…

From a young age I remember attending Agfest and seeing the policing display and thinking that looks a lot more exciting than a desk job.

The night before I started my Academy training…

I was so nervous I think I spent half the night on the phone to my mother getting reassurance that I could do this. I think I was also sick.

On my first day as a police officer…

My first day as a police officer on the Launceston watch was a nerve racking one but filled with so much excitement to actually get out and do what I had trained nine months for!

My service history so far…

I began by doing five years on the Launceston watch with a short secondment to the bicycle squad, I also completed my study to become a Senior Constable. Near the end of 2015 I moved to Western Road and Public Order Services. Whilst there I also got into the Public Order Management Team as a secondary role. Further I successfully completed the Police Motorcycle Course and began riding the police motorcycles.

I currently…

I have recently moved to Southern Road and Public Order Services to continue working on the police motorcycles out of the Bellerive station.

My typical day…

Consists of discussing with my Sgt issues that have been identified and the key areas before setting out for a day on the Police motorcycle ensuring motorists are abiding by traffic rules and attending any traffic accidents. Also, being deployed to areas where public order may be an issue such as the waterfront on a Friday, Saturday night or local events.

Where I see myself going…

I have only recently moved to my current position and see myself staying here for some time, my only current ambition is to complete the Sergeants Qualifying program.

A memorable moment in Tasmania Police…

A particularly memorable moment and one that gave be so much confidence to deal with any situation I came across. It was early on in my career when working with my sergeant and after attempting to intercept a car the driver crashed and alighted from the vehicle into a near-by rear yard. My Sergeant and I have gone to opposite corners of the yard, containing the male and we called for back-up. Just as back-up was arriving the male appeared at the side of the fence where I was, the male was extremely aggressive, I sprayed the male with OC spray for self-defence reasons. The male jumped the fence into another yard, I chased the male and was able to tackle him by myself before my Sergeant and the back-up were able to assist me in taking the male into custody.

Funniest moment in the Tasmania Police Service…

I was working a Saturday night on the Launceston watch when we were called by several intoxicated town goers that they had located a Shetland pony walking in the Launceston CBD. I wasn’t entirely convinced by the call but I soon located the pony. I had to use a strap off my bag to assist me in catching the pony and leading him back to the station, after a few hours we located his owner, who collected him and we sent him on his way.

My colleagues in the Tasmania Police Service…

Are my biggest support and like a second family to me. I have been lucky enough to work in all divisions and have friends and connections state wide. My colleagues understand what I go through in this job and can help by giving advice on ways to deal with the challenging aspects of the job.

Most difficult part of the job…

Seeing people at their most difficult times for example after the death of a loved one or having to deliver that news to them.

Best part of the job…

Helping people in need and seeing that you have actually made a difference in their lives when they needed it most.

Outside of being a police officer, I…

Spend most of the time either at the gym or spending time with my partner. I’m also a bit of a tinkerer and like doing DIY projects. In the summer I am regularly around the water either fishing, snorkelling or recently, learning how to dive.

My family…

Is very close and I still see them regularly even though they live in Launceston. My family are all very proud of me although I think my dad worries a lot about my job especially now I’m on the motorbikes.

Being a police officer has helped me…

Become more confident and achieve goals that I might not have otherwise. Made me stronger and I now doubt myself less.

Biggest success…

Completing the Police motorcycle course and becoming only the second female motorcycle rider in the state.

I am inspired by…

Every officer that has walked in these shoes either before me or with me now. Further my mother for being the strongest person I know.

An obstacle I’ve had to overcome…

Not thinking I could do something because I’m a female but realising it actually makes no difference, especially in this job.

A virtue/quote to live by…

Never get comfortable, keep pushing yourself and put yourself out there to be a better person.

The best advice I can give to a potential female recruit thinking they want to join…

If you’re thinking about joining, speak to some current serving police and if it’s what you expect, don’t hesitate to join, you can do this!