Mandurah: former police officer awarded police star medal

Jim Yates
Jim Yates

JIM Yates was bitten three times on the arm and stabbed with a syringe by a crazed drug user who told him he had AIDS.

This was while he was working as a police officer more than a decade ago.

Mr Yates, who lives in Mandurah, was one of 78 men and women honoured on August 4 with the newly introduced Police Star Medal.

The medal recognises police officers who have died or were seriously injured in the line of duty.

“I felt recognised, it was good to be publically acknowledged and now I can start my emotional healing,” Mr Yates said.

“Police face unpredictable and dangerous situations every day and there’s consequences.”

For Mr Yates the consequences were Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which led him to hold a gun to his head at one point.

Writing his novel 9370 Sooner or Later Everyone Pays a Price helped Mr Yates process some of his struggles.

“But there’s still a lot of work to be done,” he said.

Mr Yates is one of the officers behind the movement to introduce workers compensation for medically retired police officers.

WA is the only state in Australia that does not cover their police force with workers compensation.

It was also once of the last states to bring in a medal to honour fallen or injured officers.

Mr Yates said some of the officers honoured with the police star medal could not attend the ceremony “were not in a good way to attend and receive it”.

“Some haven’t recovered at all,” he said.

“I know one officer worse not than when he got out, he’s regressed, this (PTSD) is not something that quickly goes away.”

One of the officers Mr Yates attended the police academy with shot himself in 2015.

“He shot himself with his own gun and left behind a beautiful wife and kids,” he said.

“There’s lots of police on the beat medicated for PTSD.

“But I felt really positive about the medal and felt good to get some recognition.”