Reach for the sky says inaugural Polair officer in charge

From policing on the street to policing from the skies Polair Officer in Charge Senior Sergeant Pam Leech has navigated through the service in various roles after starting her diverse career with the Queensland Police Service in 1997.

Her dedication to the job and her outstanding talent has been recognised in her recent promotion as the inaugural Officer in Charge (OIC) of Polair.

Senior Sergeant Leech was appointed to the position after completing a relieving opportunity for six months in the role in October 2016, recommencing duties in August 2017 after she was confirmed as the successful applicant for the OIC position.

Senior Sergeant Leech brings a wealth of experience to her new role with a policing career that has spanned 20 years and seen her work in various operational and investigative roles across the QPS.

In December 1997, Senior Sergeant Leech was sworn into the QPS after a brief career working for a department store.

Prior to this Senior Sergeant Leech completed tertiary studies at the Queensland University of Technology where she gained a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management.

Senior Sergeant first began to consider a career in law enforcement after being inspired by the stories of friends of friends who had joined the QPS.

“My desire to join the QPS did not come until after I finished university when I had some friends who had already progressed through the Academy and their lives and stories seemed so interesting.

“I remember talking to my parents about it and dad was not overly in favour of my decision, remarking ‘it’s not a glamourous career you know!’”

After being sworn in, Senior Sergeant Leech spent six months in general duties at Sandgate Police Station before spending the next four and half years working at the Brisbane City Station.

“Dad was right; it wasn’t glamourous and during my early years at the city station I dealt with my fair share of fights, glassings and drunken behaviour,” Senior Sergeant Leech said.

“But it was during these years that I knew I’d made the right decision, as I made friends with a great group of people and learnt a lot of life skills many people will never experience in a lifetime.”

In 2002, Senior Sergeant Leech commenced her career in plain clothes policing, working at the Fortitude Valley CIB where she obtained her detective appointment.

Since then Senior Sergeant Leech has fulfilled various roles, including working as a detective in the State Crime Command, a communications coordinator in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast and most recently an investigator at the Ethical Standards Command.

Senior Sergeant Leech said the opportunity to progress on a new course at Polair, in an operational role has been humbling and exhilarating.

“This is a terrific opportunity to work with a group of very dedicated officers, many of whom have been with POLAIR since its inception in 2012,” Senior Sergeant Leech said.

“Because of the great achievements of these officers, POLAIR has grown to a level where it was appropriate to have an officer in charge at a senior sergeant level.

“It is a privilege and an honour to work with this unit and to be a part of its future.”

Senior Sergeant Leech indicated that expanding the service delivery of Polair will be a significant priority for her and her team.

“In the coming years I would like to see our service delivery extend to neighbouring districts where there may have been some challenges with the operational range of the helicopter and current established communications networks,” Senior Sergeant Leech said.

“Polair has a strong reputation for supporting front line police officers covering the districts between the Gold Coast and Caboolture.

“Since I started at Polair we have deployed to both the Sunshine Coast and Darling Downs districts to assist with operations and general calls for service, further expanding our reach.”

Education is another area Senior Sergeant Leech sees room for development.

“I am passionate about education, particular in relation to Polairs capabilities,” Senior Sergeant Leech said.

“In recent times, Polair has been called to assist specialist units such as SERT and the Surveillance Operations Unit in high risk, tactical deployments.

“I would like to continue this support and ensure the safety of officers in the dynamic situations they face.”

Senior Sergeant Leech acknowledged that her goal above all else was to continue to serve the community with distinction.

“The most important task ahead is contributing to the safety of the community we serve, the officers at Polair already do that well and that is an achievement to be proud of.”

Senior Sergeant Leech acknowledged her promotion was particularly significant as it is another indication of the QPS advancing towards greater diversity.

“I like to think all positions are filled on merit, regardless of gender but for me personally I’m proud of my achievement and I hope this encourages other female officers to consider leadership roles in tactical and operational areas they may not usually consider,” Senior Sergeant Leech said.

One of Senior Sergeant Leech’s superiors, Superintendent Shane Holmes of the Specialist Services Group, said her achievements and recent promotion were the result of her high performance and integrity.

“Senior Sergeant Leech’s background is quite varied and she has skills in a number of different areas,” Superintendent Holmes said.

Superintendent Holmes was supportive of Senior Sergeant Leech’s vision for the future of Polair.

“I think if we continue to engage with districts and commands and highlight the capabilities of Polair, we can maximise the use of this resource,” Superintendent Holmes said.

“Senior Sergeant Leech will work very well with the tactical flight officers who have been here and acquired some really great skills since the inception of Polair and the teamwork is quite evident already.”

Superintendent Holmes recognised the significance of Senior Sergeant Leech’s promotion as a signal of greater diversity within the QPS.

“It’s a key priority for the service to acknowledge the benefits of diversity, whether that be gender or culture or the skillset people bring to the position from a diverse background and the service certainly recognises that,” Superintendent Holmes said.

“It doesn’t matter whether you are female or male it’s your skillset that you bring to the position that’s been gained throughout your policing experience that will be recognised through our merit based selection process.”

As for advice for law enforcement officers of the future Senior Sergeant Leech said to never give up on pursuing your career ambitions.

“Like many officers I have experienced my fair share of disappointment trying to get promoted or being exposed to opportunity for development,” Senior Sergeant Leech said.

“However my advice is to work hard, believe in yourself and the work you do, be proud of what you achieve and share your knowledge and experiences with others.”

Source: QLD Police

Featured Image: Polair OIC Senior Sergeant Pam Leech

Image courtesy of QLD Police