A LONG-SERVING Ipswich police sergeant has been named as one of just seven officers to be awarded the Australian Police Medal in the 2023 King’s Birthday honours list.
Sgt Toni Phelan. who has headed the district’s Domestic and Family Violence division for the past 18 years. said she was extremely proud and humbled to be recognised and awarded the medal.
“This award has always epitomised to me the fantastic work, contribution and going that little bit further, that recipients displayed in their roles,” she said.
“To be recognised in this way and be a part of that amazing team now is an absolute honour.”
Announced twice a year, on Australia Day and the King’s Birthday, the APM is awarded for distinguished service by a member of an Australian police agency, after being nominated by Commissioners of each policing district.
It is a simple decoration—a round silver medal held by a ribbon of white with a dark blue stripe, but it marks its wearers as some of the most dedicated and accomplished police officers in the country.
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said Sgt Phelan and the other six officers were leading by example and demonstrating the values and standards that we uphold as a police organisation.
“The APM is a symbol of exceptional service, integrity, and selflessness.
“Today, we pay tribute to the remarkable men and women who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to protect and serve our community.
“The dedication and professionalism of our officers serve as a source of inspiration and motivation for all members of the QPS.”
Sergeant Phelan has been a police officer now for more than 32 years and has served in various locations including Cairns, Mossman, Dalby, and Ipswich.
It was during her time at Mossman, in particular working with domestic and family violence victims in the First Nations community that influenced and steered her career path.
This led to her promotion to her current position as Domestic and Family Violence Coordinator (DFVC) for the Ipswich District, where she has served for the past 18 years.
She was the first DFVC appointed by the QPS.
Sergeant Phelan was inducted into the Queensland Government Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) Prevention Honour Roll in 2021, for her commitment to eliminate DFV in the community and improve policing responses.
Her nomination came from a DFV victim survivor, further reiterating her positive impact on the community.
Whilst constantly developing different approaches to improve policing responses, Sergeant Phelan has remained focused on strengthening her communities, and fellow police officers’ knowledge through engagement, education, awareness, and prevention.
This is subsequently changing attitudes and behaviours in policing responses to DFV by being a compassionate, inspiring officer, who is enthusiastic about behavioural change.
Throughout her career, Sergeant Phelan has demonstrated exemplary leadership to frontline police, as well as external support agencies, producing outstanding service delivery in the DFV sphere to the Queensland community ensuring enhanced policing responses.
Sgt Phelan has helped many Ipswich families over almost two decades.