Meet Sergeant Simone Taplin. She joined the WA Police Force when she was 19 after being a nanny and an accounts payable clerk and has now been a police officer for 12 years.
Simone was involved with the Police Cadets while she was at Ballajura Community College and returned later as an instructor once she had graduated from the Police Force Academy. She believes the exposure to the different aspects of policing at a young age encouraged her to be a police officer and as a result, she applied as soon as she was able.
After graduating, she commenced at Roebourne Police Station as their first Probationary Constable. It was here that she has one of her best memories. “Being the youngster, all the guys and gals took me under their wing and their wives treated me like their daughter, cooking me dinners. I made some lifelong friends who I will always be in touch with.”
“I had moved to Roebourne and only been a police officer for a couple of weeks when I was tasked with Sunday fatigues. After we were done I took the police car home to get changed before returning to work. As I drove into my carport I heard a loud noise, which worked out to be the lights hitting my carport and completely coming off. Being very new and naïve, I jumped on the radio to let my partner know what had happened. As he showed up he advised that for the crash report, he was required to take a photo of me with the car for continuity. Again, being very naïve, I stood there as he photographed me holding the light bar next to the car! Surprise, surprise, it ended up in the Pilbara Police news which was distributed to all of the officers within the Pilbara District! It took me a while to shake the nickname ‘Crash’.”
At the completion of her tenure she moved to Geraldton Police Station but after three months was asked to transfer to Mount Magnet Police Station to fill a vacancy.
Simone spent two years at Mount Magnet before being granted 12 months leave without pay and moved to England where she worked as a tour guide and then a Tour Operations Manager, organising tours and managing other guides.
When she returned to the WA Police Force, she started working at Midland Police Station before being successful in completing the Detective Training School. As a detective, she worked at Midland Detectives, East Metropolitan District Crime Team, Sex Assault Squad and Kensington Detectives. A year after completing her probation as a detective, she applied for Halls Creek Police Station. After 18 months in Halls Creek, she was promoted to Sergeant and transferred to the Regional Investigations Unit where she still works today.
“As a Detective Sergeant at Regional Investigations Unit I am in charge of a team of seven and respond to commercial armed robberies, return to prison warrants, escapees and cross district offenders. Day to day, we are very dynamic and always on the move often going through ten or more doors a day looking for hard to find offenders. The most rewarding aspect is actually finding the person you are after or identifying the offender for a serious offence.”
“The most challenging aspect to policing is finding a work life balance so you can succeed in both areas of life. I think my biggest challenge recently has been myself. With all of the stereotypes and beliefs still out there that women only get promoted or only got a specific job because they wanted a women in that role. I look forward to the day when there are no more firsts for women in policing and it is never question why a female gets a position. I have been very fortunate in my career and I think I have been seen as nothing other than equal to my colleagues.”
Sergeant Simone Taplin is a Detective Supervisor at the Regional Investigations Unit.