Senior Constable Timothy Wethers, currently based in the remote community of Galiwinku, Elcho Island, is the winner of the 2014 Rotary Club of Darwin Police Officer of the Year Award.
Her Honour the Honourable Sally Thomas AC, Administrator of the Northern Territory, presented Senior Constable Wethers with the award at a special function at Government House, attended by Police Commissioner John McRoberts, President of the Rotary Club of Darwin Dan Easton, senior Police Officers and Rotary Club of Darwin members and partners.
Senior Constable Wethers is the 23rd winner of this prestigious annual award and he has been recognised for his work as a remote community Police Officer.
The affable Officer humbly accepted the award stating he was ‘blown away’ by the nomination from Community members.
“I’ve given all I can to the community and I’m put back at how much they have supported me.
“Police have only had a presence on island relatively recently.
“It has been a challenge to get them to bring their problems to us, to have earned that trust, it has been a significant plus and it helps us to help them immensely.”
Senior Constable Wethers said Aboriginal Community Police Officer Bettina Danganbarr had helped him understand the cultural differences and the ever-changing challenges of living and working in a remote community.
“Her input and knowledge has really helped me deal with situations on hand, taught me the level of respect I needed to show in order for the community to trust me.
“Respect is earned, it doesn’t just come with the job.
“I had to prove that I wouldn’t let them down and I feel now, with this nomination and Bettina’s assistance, we can all work together to improve the lives of everyone on the island.”
Senior Constable Wethers joined the Northern Territory Police Force in 2005, serving in Darwin and as a member of the Mounted Police.
His posting to Galiwinku in 2011 was his introduction to Remote Policing.
He is now one of the longest serving Police Officers in that community and the nominations reflected how far he has come in developing relationships between the Police and the predominately Aboriginal residents.
One nomination read: “Senior Constable Wethers needs to be thanked for his dedicated service to our community: walking in the two worlds here in Galiwinku that is the Yolngu world and the Balanda world takes special skills which Tim displays every day”.
Galiwinku members also singled out Senior Constable Wethers for his support to the community including his coordination of blue light discos, fund raising events and the drive safe program at the Galiwinku school, providing support to the local childcare centre, helping out at the local store, fighting fires with the local emergency services, coordinating sports carnivals for the children, organising Santa for the kids at Christmas or just responding to requests for help generally.
Senior Constable Wethers has also been instrumental in organising and conducting significant community running events including the recent Alpa/Coolridge fun run.
“We managed to get Robert DeCastella, one of our most accomplished marathon runners, across to the island and 1,500 people turned up to participate in the event and fun run.
“I really want to promote healthy lifestyles so the people can make positive life choices.
“Everyone just got together and had a great day.
“Just seeing the pride in community of the people that turned up was special, I want to foster that and help the community have that pride and become the community I know they can be,” Senior Constable Wethers said.
Rotary Club of Darwin President Dan Easton was impressed by the community response to this year’s award. “Over 60 nominations were submitted by people from a number of areas throughout the Territory and the nominees were for a range of ranks and postings.”
“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 Easton says. “However there can only be one Award recipient for the year, and I congratulate Senior Constable Wethers on his success.”
The Award Director for the Rotary Club of Darwin, Paul Simon, said the Rotary Club of Darwin is very proud to sponsor this prestigious award.
“The community is better off for a strong police presence, this award ensures the Police are seen in the media as not just performing policing aspects but for their extra work and community involvement.
“We wish to promote the role Police are doing in supporting their own communities, they are there to serve and protect but they are also part of the community itself.
“All our nominees were outstanding and of high quality, all of them demonstrate and give voice to the efforts of Police Officers in the NT.
For Senior Constable Wethers the nominations were a surprise.
“I had no idea of the level of support I had in the community and I will be thanking them all on my return.
“There is no doubt it can be a tough job but I grew up in a small country town and I feel at home here.
“Of course I could not do this job without the support of my family, my wife Belinda and our three children.
“They are happy here, the children have picked up a bit of the language, go to school with all the other kids and Belinda has an important role to play in the local health clinic.
“Sometimes the balance can be difficult, I may be called out a few times during the night but I will still be up early assisting with our kids.
“With another child on the way things can only get better.”
Senior Constable Wethers had a simple answer to why he thought he was nominated for Police Officer of the Year.
“People need help, if I can change a life or save a life well, that’s personally what I am all about.”