Detective Sergeant Mark Bland has been named the Rotary Club of Darwin Police Officer of the Year for 2013.
The 22nd winner of the award was presented with the title at a special function at Government house by Her Honour, The Administrator of the Northern Territory, Sally Thomas AM.
Attendees included the Police Commissioner John McRoberts APM, President of the Rotary Club of Darwin, Mr Rob Trenerry, Senior Police Officers, Rotary Club of Darwin members and partners.
Detective Sergeant Bland joined the NT Police in 2002. He commenced his Police career as a General Duties uniformed Officer at Darwin Station.
In 2004 he was drawn to crime investigation beginning at Darwin CIB as it was known then.
Eight years later and the now Detective Sergeant joined the recently formed Darwin Metropolitan Operations Group on Strikeforce Trident as a team leader.
The taskforce has led to the arrest of over 600 offenders, laid 2,716 charges and has been responsible for an estimated 38% reduction in property crime.
This has been acknowledged as an impressive contribution to keeping Territorians safe and was largely achieved by targeting recidivist offenders.
Detective Sergeant Bland received five separate nominations. His skills as an approachable, even handed Police Officer received great praise, comments the Detective found quite humbling.
“I’m still a little gob smacked by it all, there are so many tremendous Police Officers out there that could have been chosen. I feel very, very fortunate that I have won this award.
“I really have to thank all the people I work with, any of whom could have won this, I’m just part of a very dedicated crew who want to do the best they can for the community.” Mark Bland said on learning he had won Police Officer of the Year.
One event was singled out in two separate nominations when the Police Officer arranged with the Casino to replace tickets to a function that had been stolen from an elderly lady residing in a retirement home.
He then followed up by ensuring the lady had enough money for transport to and from the event.
This type of selfless behaviour was backed up by another nomination which read:
“Detective Sergeant Bland falls into a small, almost non-existent category, of ‘good blokes’. This category is filled with people – men, women and children – who have a special something inside them that separates them from others. It is a hard thing to explain but easily recognised by all. He is a man of brilliant morals whose professionalism and determination to serve the public is admired by all.”
His wife and four children are also very proud of his achievements and understand his dedication to his job often means they see less of him than they would like.
“We can be at any kind of function and he can get a call,” Wife Leigh said.
“We accept that and understand that is just part of his job.
“He has been very busy since joining Strikeforce Trident but he does tell us every week what a great team he works with.
“He really does love achieving outcomes and if that means he has to put in extra hours to get results, he will.
“For him it is all about getting results for the victims and we are all so proud.
“He is very dedicated to his job and he works very hard.
“We all think he really deserves this award.”
Rotary Club of Darwin President Rob Trenerry was impressed by the community response to this year’s award.
“We received over 50 nominations, submitted by people from a number of areas throughout the Territory and the nominees were from a range of ranks and postings.
“The Rotary Club of Darwin is extremely proud to sponsor this award and recognise the continuing efforts of Northern Territory Police Officers.
“Courtesy, kindness, understanding, compassion, courage and devotion to duty are qualities that the community expects of Police Officers and these qualities were certainly reflected in the nominations,” Mr Trenerry said.
“However there can only be one award recipient for the year and I congratulate Detective Sergeant Bland on his success.”