Police Officer of the Year 2018

Presentation of the 2018 POOTY Award
Rotary Club of Darwin 
President Peter Davies

Your Honour, the Honourable Vicki O’Halloran AM, Administrator of the Northern Territory and Mr Craig O’Halloran, Mr John Hardy AO, Acting Deputy Commissioner Michael Murphy representing Commissioner Kershaw, Detective Sergeant Carmen Butcher, the Police Officer of the Year 2018 and Distinguished Guests.

We are here today to announce that the 27th Police Officer of the Year is Detective Sergeant Carmen Butcher from Alice Springs and to celebrate the important contribution that Police make to the Northern Territory.

May I start by first thanking Your Honour for hosting this reception. We have maintained a long and supportive relationship with Government House with this Award and it is pleasing to have Her Honour allow us to yet again utilise this grand residence for this auspicious occasion.

The Rotary Club of Darwin is very proud to organise this award, which is now in its 27th year. The fact that the award continues to receive a significant number of nominations from the public is a testament to the quality of the awardees over the years and the club’s efforts administering the award. It is, of course, not the only activity of the club and we contribute significant funds, resources and of course, our member’s time and effort, each year to charitable causes locally, nationally and internationally as part of the Rotary International organisation.

Detective Sergeant Carmen Butcher is a highly regarded Police Officer and she has worked in the NT Police Force since 1998. After initial training in Darwin and time spent in Casuarina dealing with special crimes, she started her remote experience by spending two years in Wadeye followed by a posting to Tennant Creek and then to Alice Springs. This was unfortunately followed by 22 months off work as a result of an accident, but she came back in 2008 as a Detective Sergeant in the Child Abuse Taskforce a role which she has remained for the past 10 years.

Detective Sergeant Butcher’s area of responsibility covers some 550,000 km2 and she has developed extensive community contacts across Wadeye, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs. She manages a three person team and works closely with the NTG Departments especially Territory Families. She is also a mother and alongside her and her partner’s own children, they also foster two additional children.

Detective Sergeant Butcher stood out from a very strong field of 20 nominees for the Police Officer of the Year because she has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to make an impact working with community families. The six individual nominations she received recognised that she is both truly inspiring, tireless and compassionate, that she has a knack for getting jobs done when working in an area where often there seems to be no solutions.

A typical example, ‘Carmen’s job in child abuse would have burnt out many people, but her compassion and justice to get the correct outcome (sometimes with her hands tied) have seen her achieve so many fabulous outcomes’ . . . ‘The honesty and nature of Carmen holds her in high regard of all people that have had dealings with her’.

Other comments included ‘Carmen is well known as an officer who always listens and tries to find solutions even though others say there is nothing they can do. She has enormous creative, compassionate drive to serve community’.

On behalf of the Rotary Club of Darwin I wish to take this opportunity to thank all the sponsors including Channel 9 for advertising the Police Officer of the Year and the NT News and the Centralian for distributing nomination forms during the nomination period.

Two years ago, our Committee developed a new perpetual award that transcends the traditional ‘trophy’. For this purpose, we now offer a bespoke piece of artwork by Mr Reggie Sultan of Barrow Creek. Reggie is an Indigenous artist who has prepared a wonderful montage of ‘typical’ policing scenes in the outback through the ages. We believe this award exemplifies the hard work that our Police have done over many decades and will stand as a permanent testament to their dedication to duty and to the public.

I would like to recognise the kind donation of this painting to this worthy cause by Mr Bob Biddlecombe who owned the Nightcliff Police Station property from October 1974 through to 2010.

I now ask Her Honour to present the 2018 Rotary Club of Darwin Police Officer of the Year to Detective Sergeant Carmen Butcher.

Thank You!!

Her Honour Vicki O’Halloran AM, Administrator of the Northern Territory, Act Deputy Commisioner Michael Murphy, Rotary Club of Darwin President Pete Davies and Police Officer of the Year 2018, Detective Sergeant Carmen Butcher

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