Rocky crime crackdown: Police re-open Rocky station
POLICE are cracking down on crime and expanding their reach, with the reopening of the Lakes Creek Police Station.
When the opportunity arose, Senior Constable Ryan Packenham put his hand up to be the officer appointed for the Koongal station.
"I just think it's a fantastic spot," Snr Const Packenham said.
"You get to work as a one off station but still be in Rockhampton effectively. So you get all the support of the bigger stations but still get to work closer with other sort of people and run it how you'd want your division run effectively.
"I think there's a lot of potential for having the police station here in regards to community engagement and even just getting to jobs quicker."
Snr Const Packenham began his career in law enforcement in Rockhampton in 2014 where he stayed for a few years before transferring to Woorabinda for six months.
He said the experience taught him to focus on community engagement and the factors behind crime rather than just offences committed.
"A lot of it is community engagement. Rather than just dealing with the crime... it's more about addressing the problem as a whole and seeing how we can sort of address whatever issue the community has, as a multi agency approach.
"For example, we had a lot of dramas with kids sniffing petrol out there, so instead of just effectively chasing the children after they've done it, you work with the schools to better educate them.
"We worked with the property owners to look at locking up houses, locking up jerry cans and then with the servo we ended up getting opal fuel in so you couldn't sniff that fuel.
"And then also with health, making them sort of aware of what the issue is and any advice they can give us to help with the kids."
Senior Constable Packenham said he enjoys working "with quite a lot of stakeholders" to address crimes.
He also made sure to intervene before any potential misdemeanours progressed to an issue.
"As police, you sort of only deal with people at their crisis point and I prefer to sort of deal with it before it gets to that point," he said.
"It's not to interfere but offer alternative pathways rather than getting to that continual crisis point."
After his stint in Woorabinda, Senior Constable Packenham returned to Rockhampton and has effectively worked here ever since.
"I think there's been a huge community outcry in Koongal for this station," Snr Const Packenham said.
"I've had quite a few people come up and say they feel safer just knowing there's someone here just down the road and if they go on holidays I can just keep an eye on their house."
Inspector David Peff said as an organisation, Rockhampton police had begun to explore options as to how best service the needs of the community "in the most efficient and effective manner possible".
"Whilst the position was vacant and as part of our needs analysis the Lakes Creek Division was provided with a service 24 hours per day from existing resources in Rockhampton.
"It should be noted the Lakes Creek Police Division will still be serviced by staff from Rockhampton and North Rockhampton at times when Snr Const Packenham is on days off.
"As always, if any matter requires the urgent attendance of police ring 000."
The station was closed five years ago, however the time had come to bring it back and cater to a wider community.
The Queensland Police Service determined it was for the best interest of the Lakes Creek community that a police officer should be stationed in the area.
The local Neighbourhood Watch group supported the decision to bring more law enforcement to the area.