Australia Day honours for police

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Close up of the medals.

Four outstanding Western Australia Police Force officers have been acknowledged with Australian Police Medals in the Australia Day honours.

Commander John Leembruggen

Commander John Leembruggen joined the WA Police Force in October 1983, serving in general duties and traffic before becoming a detective in 1989. He has since dedicated his career to criminal investigation, serving in areas such as Major Crime Division, Sex Crime Division, Karratha Detectives and Serious and Organised Crime Division.

His empathetic and caring nature saw him selected as the Family Liaison during a high-profile serial killer investigation, providing support to one of the families for more than two decades. Across his various roles he has gained a wealth of experience in the fields of leadership and development of staff, policing services and enhancing community safety.

As Superintendent at Police Air Wing, he initiated internal change to ensure compliance after a Civil Aviation Authority review. At Mandurah District Office, he was instrumental in the implementation and development of the Rapid High Harm Offender Response Teams. His early adoption of this new policing initiative, along with ensuring effective deployment, led to this initiative being implemented across the metropolitan area, resulting in significant reductions to volume crime.

In September 2022, he was selected as Acting Commander of the Metropolitan Region - South to implement several new systems, business and performance practices that he had previously embedded within the Mandurah District. He has been instrumental in leading reduced crime rates by providing strategic leadership on Identify, Locate and Associate strategies, which hold offenders accountable through swift policing intervention and cross-district linked offending.

In October 2023, he was promoted to the rank of Commander, and has recently been the Acting Assistant Commissioner of Metro.

Commander Leembruggen was one of the founding members and the inaugural President of The Law Enforcement Torch Run WA, established to provide opportunities for inclusion and improved quality of life for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Throughout his 40-year policing career, he has achieved significant results, demonstrating exceptional dedication to the Western Australia community.

Inspector Robyn Greene

Inspector Robyn Greene joined the Western Australia Police Force in 2001, working in general duties in various regional and metropolitan areas before becoming a detective in 2008 and serving in a range of specialist units around the state. 

Inspector Greene’s leadership potential was quickly identified. She was promoted to Sergeant in 2015 and Senior Sergeant in 2019, then selected as the Regional WA Operations Co-Ordinator, to manage such areas as Sex Offenders and the Multi-Functional Policing Facilities. In that role, she identified an increase in crime trends, coordinating an operation that successfully resulted in a huge reduction in burglary offences, stealings, and stealing of motor vehicles, with a large number of offenders arrested and charged.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Inspector Greene was selected to lead a team within Operation Tide, assisting in the management of Remote Aboriginal Communities and Biosecurity Zones to protect vulnerable people in these communities. She helped resolve a number of ongoing conflicts in respect to the Biosecurity Determinations to ensure free movement of international shipping into Western Australian ports, providing stability and facilitating the progression of the shipping industry.

Also as part of Operation Tide, Inspector Greene represented the WA Police Force on the Sports Planning Committee, joining senior members of other sporting, government and non-government agencies. She led stakeholder engagement to ensure all necessary quarantine safety measures were put in place. This leadership and forward planning helped ensure the sporting industry could continue to travel and compete safely throughout the pandemic, including the 2021 AFL Grand Final in Perth.

Within these various roles, and now as the Assistant Divisional Officer at the Tactical Response Group, Inspector Greene has achieved remarkable success through unselfishly sharing her knowledge and expertise whilst negotiating complex outcomes to the benefit of WA Police Force, the WA community and critical stakeholder partnerships.

Superintendent Jon Kazandzis

Superintendent Jon Kazandzis joined the WA Police Force in 1991, serving in metropolitan and regional general duties and becoming a training officer in the Operational Safety and Tactics Training Unit and the Professional Education and Learning Unit.

His broad experience and natural leadership saw him promoted as he served in a number of regional and metropolitan Officer in Charge (OIC) positions. Taking these leadership qualities to Counter Terrorism and Emergency Command, he became the inaugural OIC of the Protective Service Officers program in 2016. He successfully implemented the new business unit, recruitment and training, before establishing the Capability Development Unit in 2018, focusing on police command. He was promoted to Inspector in 2020 at the Tactical Response Group (TRG), where he consistently excels.

He represented the WA Police Force on a national level at the Australia New Zealand Counter Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC) Police Tactical Group (PTG) forum and he is the force liaison with the Australian Defence Force, ensuring officers are fully trained, equipped and interoperable with other jurisdictional partners to respond to terrorism threats.

As Inspector, he oversaw the development of TRG training packages, which are now accredited and recognised through the WA Police Academy. This ensures TRG officers are fully trained to the highest standard, continuing to maintain contemporary police tactical methodologies for the WA Police Force. He was also responsible for TRG training management and deployment exercises. His sound judgement and ability to remain calm in high pressure situations have earned the respect of his colleagues and peers, and he is often deployed as PTG Commander to major incidents. 

In October 2023, he was promoted to Superintendent as the Divisional Officer of the TRG. He has consistently demonstrated exceptional professionalism, leadership and dedication throughout his career, providing exemplary service to the WA Police Force and enhancing the safety of the community.

Detective Sergeant Andrew Coen

Detective Sergeant Andrew Coen joined the WA Police Force in 1995 as a police cadet, before becoming a sworn officer in 1997, working in a range of traffic and general duties roles within Metropolitan Region. He became a detective in 2004, serving in various detective offices and specialist units before his promotion to the rank of Sergeant in 2009, going on to serve in Organised Crime Squad, State Intelligence and on secondment to the Australian Crime Commission.

Det. Sgt Coen consistently exceeds his role expectations. He led the Target Development Team, harnessing the use of new Dedicated Encrypted Communications Devices (DECD) technology. He created key state, national and international relationships to disrupt the supply of methylamphetamine into WA. In particular, his development of the use of DECDs directly led to a number of seizures of large quantities of methylamphetamine and cash, as well as assisting the Homicide Squad with various investigations.

In January 2022, Det. Sgt Coen was selected to lead a team in the Rapid Apprehension Squad (RAS), a new frontline unit created to identify and locate the most active, high-harm repeat offenders. RAS investigates armed robberies, ATM explosions, cash-in-transit robberies and prison escapes, and affects the apprehension of cross district high-harm offenders to help prevent crime throughout the state.

He has supervised a highly-functioning and motivated team, often undertaking high-risk and high-profile policing incidents. He encourages his team to consistently think outside the box and apply innovations in technology and intelligence capabilities to help solve crimes faster. This contributes to the agency priority of the Identification, Location and Association of high-harm offenders.

With his specialised investigative knowledge, skills, dedication to duty, and significant contributions to the WA Police Force, Det. Sgt Coen is a worthy recipient of the Australian Police Medal.