ACWAP Awards 2015

Australasian Council of Women and Policing

Excellence in Policing Awards




Katarina Carroll, Queensland Police Service

Topping off an already impressive list of achievements, Assistant Commissioner Katarina Carroll’s leadership was both outstanding and inspirational as Program Executive G20 with the successful completion of “Operation Southern Cross” security operation.  Known for her integrity, respect and utmost professionalism along with her mantra of “Failure is not an option”, she provides an exceptional example of the achievements of women in the Queensland Police Service as a role model, mentor and advisor to the women who follow in her wake.

The QPS G20 Group mission was to provide for the safety, security and dignity of all delegates to the G20 Leaders’ Summit, supporting staff and community members during G20 events in Cairns and Brisbane. Key outcomes included a safe, secure and dignified G20 Finance Ministers’ Meeting (Cairns) and G20 Leaders’ Summit (Brisbane); safety and security of all supporting participants; safety and security of all residents, business owners/operators, community members, visitors and protestors throughout the G20 events.  Providing broad initial guidance, Katarina developed a high performance G20 team and overviewed the implementation of the largest police security operation in Queensland’s history. She formed a cohesive team of professionals who were provided with a very clear Commander’s Intent from the outset. Katarina provided clear and effective Strategic Objectives and Guiding Principles which allowed all managers and staff to plan collaboratively. While she gave guidance, Katarina provided individual managers with the autonomy to develop their own detailed project and operational plans, enhancing individuals’ capabilities. Her personal example, drive, determination, dynamic persona and developmental approach was an inspiration to all involved in G20, internally and externally. Katarina is not only an outstanding inspiration for women, but for all leaders.



Michelle Dench, Victoria Police

Sergeant Michelle Dench has shown incredible dedication to her work as a general duties dog handler where she has applied her specialist skills to ensure optimum results for the safety of the community and fellow police.

Michelle has excelled in an area of policing where very few women are employed. She has led the way for female members in challenging themselves to be astute dog handlers and make an important contribution to operational response and investigation. She is the first female to reach to reach the rank of Sergeant within the Victoria Police Dog Squad and has extended her knowledge through tertiary studies for the benefit of the organisation. She has mentored, coached and trained numerous police members in their quest to become a dog handler and is well regarded across Australasia for her skills in this critical area of policing which culminated in her being deemed the best dog handler in Australia at the general duties dog trials held in 2013. She has inspired both men and women to aim towards their career goals and has paved the way for female dog handlers across Australia.



Sarah Benson, Australian Federal Police

A model professional woman who over a distinguished 15 year career has used her established international expertise to positively impact numerous priority operations, enhance forensic science capabilities in Australia and overseas, and lead and mentor those around her – many of whom aspire to follow her example

Dr Sarah Benson is quite possibly the most accomplished professional I have encountered in my career.  She is unequivocally recognised as a leader in her field of Forensic Chemistry.  She has achieved this status on the basis of her skills and dedication and has applied her expertise to not only significantly influence serious investigations, but also to expand the capacity and capability of the Australian and international forensic community.  Sarah is a natural leader who sets an example to those around her through her commitment, professionalism and integrity.  Sarah is a role model to young women in the AFP, many of whom cite openly the positive impact she has had in shaping their career and as a source of inspiration and guidance.



Ken Lay, Victoria Police

Retired Chief Commissioner Ken D. Lay has raised national awareness on the scourge of violence against women, driven improved police and community responses to preventative violence programs and initiated a ‘game changing’ independent review of discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual predatory behaviour in Victoria Police that will undoubtedly improve workplace safety for women in policing throughout common law policing countries.

Ken has earned an international reputation and profile as a male champion of change committed to improved community safety and inclusion through the elimination of violence against women and girls.  As a senior police manager, Ken promoted support networks for women in policing and drove improved police service delivery for intimate partner violence and violence prevention strategies.  As Chief Commissioner, he delivered innovative police response models and ensured continued public scrutiny of violence against women through initiating government forums, providing media commentary and opinion pieces and by challenging traditional policing response models.  In December 2013, Ken proposed and delivered the ‘Breaking men’s silence’ forum at Melbourne’s iconic MCG which included his enlisting celebrities and community leaders and then securing their commitment to preventing violence by challenging the status quo and providing sustained and effective leadership and role modelling.  In November 2014, Ken announced a policing ‘first’ by commissioning an independent statutory body, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC), to conduct a review of discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual predatory behaviour in Victoria Police.  The VEOHRC has set a new benchmark on survey return and will deliver the initial report in 2015 forecasting significant change pressures for all Australasian policing jurisdictions and delivering improved and safer work environments for women in policing.



Helen Toves, Guam Police Department

For over 10 years and without promotion, fair compensation and little to no recognition, Ms. Helen Matthews Toves, has remained committed and dedicated to improve the Guam Police Departments (GPD) policing capabilities through continuing IT upgrades and training of police personnel- twenty four hours a day seven days a week- acquiring Modern Policing techniques in consideration of environmental impact factors through the use of technology.

Despite the fact that Helen has retained her current title of Clerk I-under filling the position of an Information Tech Supervisor, she has persisted and persevered in providing her smarts and talent toward contributing to the success of the police departments Information Technology abilities. Increasing GPD’s capacity to provide services to the community we serve. It is noteworthy to mention that Helen has been on call around the clock, every single day for over 10 years. Helen continues to provide her talents without fair compensation because, as she has put it, she is dedicated to her police department and love’s what she does! For more than 15+ years, Helen, has managed GPD’s Information Technology Department. Helen has provided guidance and training in IT related matters in areas such as Law Enforcement Report Management and Mobil Crash. Helen has also managed a multitude of Police/IT related projects to bring GPD into the 21st Century and to make the department force more cost effective and efficient, she has run network lines and computer repairs and federal grants etc.-often times single handed



Filipa Lini, Vanuatu Police Force

Sgt Filipa Monica Lini is a brilliant and outstanding female leader, a mother of four children and a role model as through her remarkable steps that contributed to change within the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF) and our Pacific women in Policing in this region. She continues to influence and commit herself in representing women in local and Pacific communities and also empowers gender within law enforcement to advance equality and improving policing for women in the Pacific region by teaching others through various workshops and leading as an example with her innovated ways.

Highly Commended – Kaboiti Aretateta, Kiribati Police



Leonie Fordyce, Queensland Police Service

Over the past six years the nominee, Senior Sergeant Leonie Fordyce, has led the Queensland Police Service (QPS) through significant reform of the domestic and family violence (DFV) policing response, delivering streamlined and enhanced police processes and powers; ensuring victims are effectively protected from future violence; and that perpetrators of DFV are held to account for their violence.

For more than 20 years policing responses to DFV remained relatively unchanged in Queensland.  In previous years DFV has been the third most frequent call for service and the incident type which takes the longest average time for officers to complete. Over the past six years, Leonie has led a number of projects and activities as part of a broader reform initiative which has culminated in the delivery of contemporary policing responses to DFV in Queensland.  Principal activities of the initiative included: the negotiation, drafting and implementation of new legislation and stand-alone DFV specific court rules to deliver business improvements and increase victim safety and perpetrator accountability; application of a state DFV Strategy for the reduction of DFV; professional development of officers to engender contemporary understanding of DFV; development and implementation of a protective assessment framework to assist officers in determining level of risk for the victim and the most appropriate police response to reduce the frequency and severity of DFV and ultimately prevent the occurrence of domestic homicide; and most recently, contributing to the delivery of the NOT NOW, NOT EVER report as a member of the Secretariat to the Premier’s Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland (the Taskforce).

Highly Commended – Matthew Herring & Renee Van Den Heuvel, Queensland Police Service



Anita Dixon, New Zealand Police

Anita Dixon is a positive leader who has transformed the culture, lifted service delivery, leads by example and cares deeply about the welfare of the community and police staff in the Kapiti policing sub-area.

The basis for her nomination for either award relates to her time as the (sole) senior Officer in Kapiti, a sub-area of the Kapiti Mana Policing Area and in turn part of the Wellington Police district.  Anita arrived in Kapiti in 2013 and inherited a policing area suffering the effects of low morale and inconsistent service delivery. The community had also been shaken by two youth homicides. Over the past 18-months, Anita has transformed the culture and performance of that policing Area through her ‘no frills’ style of leadership which has seen staff in Kapiti move from one of the lowest engaged work-groups in NZ, to one of, if not the highest in NZ, positioning them to respond with great professionalism and espirit de corp during a recent ‘one in fifty year’ weather event.

Highly Commended – Joanne McCabe, Western Australia Police



Deb Abbott, Victoria Police

Superintendent Deb Abbott is a progressive, inclusive and effective police leader who has delivered demonstrable improvements for women in policing. Women police who wear uniform benefit from Deb’s leadership and project administration excellence every time they don a Victoria Police uniform.

Deb is a ‘go-to’ police leader who has consistently delivered major change projects and initiatives for Victoria Police.  Deb has ensured improvements for women in policing including promotional pathways programs that have delivered increased numbers of women to supervisory and management roles.  Of note, women police who wear Victoria Police uniform provide overwhelmingly positive approval of the clothing changes which Deb ensured were developed to accommodate women police.

Highly Commended – Theresa banks, Victoria Police



Carmel Arthur, Victoria Police

Carmel Arthur is bold, brave and resilient and through her unique and influential storytelling has inspired other women to see beyond the moment and strive for change across our organisation and our communities.

Carmel’s sphere of influence and achievements as a Victoria Police member are significant. Carmel’s reach goes beyond the workgroups of our organisation to our external stakeholders and our communities. Carmel has been a champion of our future thinking ‘Blue Paper’ and mentored other women in the art of influence. The referee statements and media articles attest to Carmel’s outstanding reputation and profile across sectors and her ethical leadership. Carmel is an outstanding female practitioner and administrator with her project management skills (re Monash Feasibility Study) but more importantly she is an outstanding person.

Highly Commended – Doneena Henry, Queensland Police Service



Kirsty Schofield, Australian Federal Police
Kirsty Schofield is an inspirational and innovative leader, possessing a wealth of police experience and known for her intelligence, integrity, determination, resilience and professionalism.
Kirsty has been a police officer with Australian Federal Police (AFP) for over 25 years, across a broad spectrum of crime types. She is a natural leader, currently leading teams in counter terrorism, applying her significant education and experience in supporting women in policing and improving the way the organisation conducts business. She is an outstanding, innovative investigator who is passionate about her work, and significantly enhances the profile and professionalism of women in policing.