Coming back to your home town is always a poignant trip, and for Assistant Commissioner Brett Greentree there was no better place for him to hold his first commander's meeting.
All of the region's seven commanders converged together on Wednesday for the first of their four yearly Western Region Leadership gatherings, giving Inverell its first opportunity to play host.
But while strategies to combat crime are always on the agenda, the commanders also got the chance to look at a brand new, prototype vehicle which is set to change the game of policing.
"Being an Inverell boy born and bred, I thought it would be nice to hold my first region meeting back in my home town," he explained.
They discussed crime, community issues, emergency management, and planned strategies for the year ahead, "looking at where we are heading in line with the commissioner's vision".
Key points, he said, were about how to reconnect with communities and local leadership following the pandemic, how to drive down rising crime rates following from lockdown lifts, and the ever-challenging fight against "silent crime".
"It's not just property crime, there is a real focus on those silent crimes. Talking about domestic violence and sexual assault rates which haven't gone down that much and is a concern."
"They are more challenging from the policing perspective, and we have to make sure that we are looking after the victim and making sure they are confident and willing to talk to the police - and hopefully with the investigation put the offender before the court."
With new technology on the horizon, policing is set to get a make-over.
But not just the commanders - Inverell officers also had the chance to get a look at the state-of-the-art technology inside the vehicle, a glimpse into the future of policing.
The technology inside the vehicle combines over 40 individual operating systems used currently into a single, user-friendly system.
Ultimately, it will not only free-up officers and give them more time on our streets, but also drastically improve their safety on the job.
Supt. Jason Joyce from the Hills Police District came along to show the Western Region Commanders the 'Integrated Connection Officer' concept car for the first time, and said it was important they got feedback from regional police on their needs.
"Whatever we do needs to work for regional areas just as well as it does for metropolitan areas," he affirmed.
ACM was given a detailed tour of the vehicle, comparing the current set-ups to this new prototype.
While the car needs to undergo the necessary approvals before being rolled out, Supt. Joyce said he would expect to see it out and about very much "in the near future", having worked hard to get the project where it was today.
Due to commercial in confidence no photos of the interior could be taken.
However, a single touch screen monitor built into the dashboard replaced multiple systems and screens, cords, and other bulky and space-consuming equipment necessary in the boots and backs of current vehicles.
Cameras feed back live views giving a 360 vision of the vehicle's surroundings, drastically improving safety.
The system integration allows real-time information and connection. For example, an image of a missing person could be sent out to all officers immediately, giving them a visual aide rather than just a written description.
In disaster situations - like flooding - officers who see an incident could log it straight away where they were, saving them a time consuming trip to the office. The same for remote officers where the tyranny of distance hindered logging.
In describing the benefits in key ways, Assistant Commissioner Greentree said it would increase police mobility; integrate a whole host of systems and give police real-time information; and drastically improve their safety on the job.
"It is changing the way we do business and keeping us not only with the times but ahead of the times," Assistant Commissioner Greentree said.
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