Prior to her employment with WA Police, she was predominantly self-employed in tourism and hospitality small businesses. "I think my self-employment history has also helped to culture my ability to be responsible, self-motivated and have an honest work ethic that I now practice. My comfort dealing with the public in customer service, comes from the many and varied interactions I have had in past businesses and has been a vital experience to draw from. " It was her skillset and a desire to work in an area that creates a positive difference that led her to her role with WA Police.
At the time she applied for the position of Customer Service Officer with WA Police, she had been living in Exmouth for 10 years and had accumulated a considerable bank of local knowledge. “It is particularly handy for identifying geographical locations, contact phone numbers and historical events. I have requests for information daily from police officers who are relatively new to the area. My qualification of Master Class 5 Skipper, and history of running a charter business around the coastal areas of Ningaloo, has also proven helpful during marine rescues.”
As a Customer Service Officer, Heather provides front counter services for Exmouth Police Station which includes receiving phone calls, taking incident reports, providing information to members of the public, facilitating applications, processing accounts and general clerical tasks. She also assists with applications and payments for the local court. As Exmouth is a favourite tourist destination, Heather attends to many tourist enquiries, providing local information and support. “Seeing the weight of stress and bewilderment lift from customers as they leave our front counter is quite fulfilling.”
A frequent task she performs is to deal with incidents of lost and found property with tourists being the predominant and happy beneficiaries for the return of many items they process. One particular incident involved a lost camera on Ningaloo beach."A search through the camera revealed some pictures of a character at the beach. Several days later, an overseas tourist attended our station looking for his camera and his face was instantly recognisable. At the moment he was informed that we had his property, his face was not the normal picture of gratitude and happiness – rather a burgeoning scarlet shade with an embarrassed look of awkwardness. He was clearly the character in the photos who had enjoyed the warmth and isolation of our beautiful beaches!"
“One of the most challenging aspects of my role is witnessing the public’s frequent misunderstanding or ill-informed views of police and their activities. I am constantly amazed with the skills and resilience of our sworn officers as they deal with the small stuff and the mighty hard stuff. Their everyday endeavour is to persevere and ensure safety and security in communities and ours is no different. Their efforts underwrite the quality of life that our citizens enjoy and I find that type of workplace atmosphere positive to work in. My respect and friendships with officers and their families by working at Exmouth Police is growing all the time. I now know that Exmouth Police are significant contributors to the health and stability of our community and I am a part of that.”
“In the future, I hope to see Western Australia Police with a vibrant mix of character, culture, gender and skill sets that can together, combat the greater challenges before us. From where I sit, I’m proud to say that women are already a viable component of this strategic team.”
Heather Lake is the Customer Service Officer at Exmouth Police Station.