Waroona top cop: Country police need better support

Waroona officer-in-charge Jeff Taylor loves the country life but says there are challenges in a country town.
Waroona officer-in-charge Jeff Taylor loves the country life but says there are challenges in a country town.

IT takes a special sort of police officer to enjoy working in the country.

Waroona officer-in-charge Sergeant Jeff Taylor came to town six years ago and does not want to leave.

Sgt Taylor has wrangled echidnas, snakes, goannas and all sorts of livestock as part of his job.

The ideal country police sergeant is a traffic cop/detective/ambulance officer/counsellor/fireman/Steve Irwin type character.

“The job is fun and we try to make it fun,” he said.

“Everyone here knows everyone’s business. In a country town everyone knows who you are; you really are part of the community.”

The job isn’t all fun though and it has its down sides. For instance, Waroona Police Station has no support staff and no administration staff and officers there struggle with similar problems as other police stations.

“We still have meth in our town. Do we have large scale dealers and cooks and stuff? I’d like to think we don’t, but we obviously have problems with meth and drugs and domestic violence,” he said.

“Because we don’t have some of the support agencies in town, it becomes more of a problem because the issues are recurring.

Sgt Taylor would like to see better public transport for the residents of Waroona.

“Are they going to drive all the way to Mandurah to talk to someone? Most of the time they can’t be bothered,” he said. “They aren’t going to go out of their way to get help, help needs to come here.

“It is much better than it was, various support agencies come to the community centre once a week.”

Sgt Taylor said people turn up at the police station because they can’t find the support or help they need.

“They’ll turn up at the front door and say I need help with… and then we are there, we are the conduit and I say I think you need to see this person,” he said.

There are funny days though – there’s the time they had to put out an oven fire caused by leaving a pizza in the oven.

Or the day a woman swore drug paraphernalia wasn’t hers and she proved this because the real owner had their name engraved on it.

Sgt Taylor also runs one of the most successful WA Police Twitter pages.

They have 706 followers from all over Australia and the world.

Their most popular tweet featuring their newest recruit Alpha, had 75 retweets and 145 favourites.

At first he wasn’t keen on the idea of having a Twitter account.

Now he figures he will get people to pay attention to serious issues like drink driving, drug use and domestic violence, by getting their attention through humour.