Former ‘wild child’ walks the blue line to inspire others

Former ‘wild child’ walks the blue line to inspire others

SENIOR Sergeant Jo Edwards is proof that even a ‘wild child’ can do whatever they want and gender is becoming less and less of a barrier.

She is currently the Acting Senior Sergeant OIC for Rockingham Police where she has been stationed for the last three years.

Joining the police force in 2001, she did face the challenge of being a female in a male-dominated role.

However she believes women in policing have come a long way since then.

“We have had an increase with women in the force,” she said.

“It’s great because we needed diversity, not just because of the sexes but because of personalities.

“We are making way with it (equality for women) and I do enjoy that.”

A career in policing almost didn’t happen after Snr Sgt Edwards hit a crossroads at 20.

“I think I was a bit of a wild child when I was younger,” she said

“My sister was already a police officer and I was about 20 when I hit a fork in the road; I could have gone either way but my sister encouraged me to join the police force.”

Snr Sgt Edwards has never looked back.

“It’s given me the best years of my life: friends, the different regions I have been able to work within WA.

“My husband is a police officer too and we have two young children.

“On a personal note it is that as women we do juggle work and home life, it’s just about creating balance.”

Snr Sgt Edwards said her own crossroads gave her empathy towards the vulnerable people in the community she works with.

“I see a lot of myself in teenagers today,” she said.

“It allows me to say to them ‘I get it’, I get where you are at.

“We all make those poor decisions particularly when we are younger but you can’t punish them for that.

“They are learning and you have to give them leeway then guide them in the right direction.

“We all make bad choices – even as adults.”

After taking a break for three years while working in mining, she was inevitably drawn back to the force.

“I do love it – it’s unique,” she said.

“I do a bit of work with high school students and do some jiu jitsu with them.

“It’s been really positive – I think people forget how pivotal police can be in people’s lives.

“Curtin University did a focus group interview with the students, the results were really positive.

“The program had boosted their self-confidence and helped with anger issues.”

She said 2019 International Women’s Day would be just another day.

“In 2017 we did celebrate 100 years of woman in policing,” she said.

“This year will just be business as usual.”

In the future she said she will continue to pursue managerial roles within WA Police.

“Currently I’m an Acting Senior Sergeant but I will go for further promotion – I do see myself in a managerial role.

“If there is something that you want to do just go and do it; the harder we try the luckier we get.”

In December 2018 Snr Sgt Edwards was awarded the WA Police Commissioner’s Medal for Excellence for her ongoing work with the police and for her work with at-risk youth and victims of domestic violence.

“It’s significant recognition; the achievements I have I wouldn’t be able to do without my fellow colleagues.

“You can’t do great things on your own.

“I really recognise that and thank my colleagues for that.”