The Aboriginal Liaison Officer (ALO) Trial Program is one of the current Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services (NTPFES) Indigenous Employment Initiatives and has recently been launched in four Top End remote communities.
Liaison Officers have commenced employment in Wadeye, Wurrumiyanga, Maningrida and Galiwinku.
The primary focus of the officers is to act as a liaison between Police and the community, to enhance the effectiveness of Police services. The benefits arising from knowledge of the local language, culture and familiarisation of local residents acting as a conduit into the workings of the community and the guidance and advice an ALO can offer to NT Police members leads to much more effective policing and intelligence gathering opportunities.
The program is already achieving positive results and is being well received by the community members in the respective communities. ALO’s are assisting with reassurance patrols, language translation, witness liaison, community engagement and front counter services. Encouragement and support for professional development has seen Ralph Garrawurra, the Liaison Officer at Galiwinku complete a computer skills course and Maningrida Liaison Officer Billy Williams, also commencing a computer course. Both Ralph and Billy want to become Aboriginal Community Police Officers. The experience they are gaining as Liaison Officers will assist them greatly along this fantastic career path.
When asked about the program, Sergeant Scott Rose of Wadeye Police stated that the ALO program “Is an exciting initiative that will enhance Police Community relations through respected community members assisting Police. It’s great to have local Diminin elder, Ernest Perdjert back with us. Ernest has been a great friend to numerous bush Police during tours of duty at Wadeye in his twenty plus years in Policing as a Tracker, Senior ACPO and Liaison Officer. You cannot replicate the experience he brings in relation to local knowledge, interpreting skills, cultural awareness, mentoring members - and the bonus is that they assist junior members in making their job easier.”
As more locals see the ALOs in operation in these communities, the more interest and inquiries the Police are receiving from community members about obtaining a position as an ALO. ALOs have been seen as leaders within their communities and are a great role model to the younger community members and are also assisting the remote Night Patrol workers to provide safer communities.
ALO recruitment is currently underway for the Communities of Yuendumu and Borroloola.