Meet Acting Commander Kate Taylor. This year marks her 30th year of policing.
Prior to joining the WA Police Force, she was a student enjoying a long summer break prior to a new university year commencing and working part time at Crown Casino. It was during that break that she decided that she might want to change career paths from becoming a Japanese interpreter.
“In my younger years, I had a tendency to go against the norm, whether that be conforming to latest fashion or hairstyles, and was somewhat defiantly attracted to the fact that policing was not a traditional career pathway for a woman. The fact that my older brothers laughed fired me up! But mostly I wanted to do something that touched people’s lives, something that changed their direction in a positive way.”
Kate started her career in 1987 in general duties policing both metropolitan and regional WA, Child Abuse Unit, and metropolitan detectives. “I have some great memories from relieving at Marble Bar Police Station (once I found out where and what Marble Bar actually was). As a young 22 year old woman, and used to the creature comforts of a cosy home, being sent to this remote town was definitely a shock to the system. But once I settled in to the Ironclad Hotel and made friends with the local folk, it was such a positive challenge and I loved the experience.”
Her current role as Acting Commander of Intelligence and Deployment involves the coordination of intelligence resources across two divisions, management of very high risk resources, identifying and implementing strategies to address intelligence gaps, mentoring and coaching. This year, Kate is currently on the WA Police Force committee for both 100 Years of Women in Policing and the Australasian Council of Women and Policing.
Although policing is a great job, it can have its challenging aspects. “Balancing resources, managing time, managing expectations internally and externally, upwards and downwards… maintaining a healthy work life balance. Having three children and a partner in the job, who also works shift work and long hours, has meant this balance has always been a challenge.”
“One of my strongest memories stems from what I would class as one of the most rewarding parts of my career - investigating sex crimes over a number of years. It was without a doubt one of the most emotionally draining periods of my career but also one of the most rewarding experiences as a police officer and a time of so much personal growth.”
“I remember one investigation which involved a particularly horrific and brutal sexual assault. I spent days with the victim. I cried with her and her family, I questioned if I even had the strength to get through it myself, let alone put on a brave face and support them all. It was really difficult but it was, after all, my job and it wasn’t like I was a novice at dealing with these types of offences. At the end of each long day, I went home and recharged with my young family, hugged my three little kids and got up and went back to work the next day and the next. When the offender was sentenced to a very long jail term, I cried with the family all over again.”
“The rewards are immense when you see that look in someone’s eye when they realise you are someone who is going to help them start the journey out of a really bad place. When I get updates every now and again on how they are going, what they are achieving, the joy they now have in their life, I can smile and feel proud of being part of a team which helped to bring someone out of the worst period in their lives, and survive.”
“My advice to junior officers is give everything a go; don’t be afraid to take something on and take every opportunity to learn and experience. Have a plan, and when everything doesn’t go to plan, refocus and move forward.”
“I am always proud to tell someone that I am part of the WA Police Force because I am proud of what we do, of the difference we make, of the sometimes thankless, unenviable tasks that we do - tasks that it takes unique people to do.”
Acting Commander Kate Taylor is currently Commander of Intelligence and Deployment.
I have great pleasure in providing this profile for Kate Taylor. We spoke at length during the creation of this profile and what will never translate to paper is the passion she brings to her role, the compassion she has for victims she has dealt with or the satisfaction she gets from making a difference to people’s lives. Kate has personally achieved much for women in policing as part of the first ‘job share’ arrangement for women returning from maternity leave to her work in leading covert policing. She has a wry smile when she talks about her past experiences and the memories she has.
It is clear that Kate has grown up in the WA Police Force having joined at a very young age. She has been shaped by her experiences which she relays in a positive light. Kate’s personal values gel very well with those of our agency and her commitment to our community is an obvious driver and no doubt the source of personal satisfaction. We are a richer agency for having strong female leaders like Kate and I believe she is a role model for junior male and female officers who aspire to succeed in their careers.
- Paul Steel APM Assistant Commissioner.