King's Birthday APM Recipients
The Governor General recently awarded the following five Western Australia Police Force officers with the Australian Police Medal.
ACTING SUPERINTENDENT DALE ROBINSON
Acting Superintendent Robinson joined the WA Police Force as a recruit in 2000 and upon graduating, saw service in various frontline metropolitan positions, as well as serving at the Esperance Police Station, Regional WA. She later excelled at forensic, training and tactical roles, rising to the rank of Inspector with State Operations. She is currently acting as Superintendent of the Custodial Services & Mental Health Division.
Throughout her career she has pushed through perceived gender boundaries, driven to excel in a variety of specialist fields. As the first female Tactical Commander of the Tactical Response Group (TRG) she set an example for other women to follow, with knowledge and an open leadership style that quickly resonated with her team.
This had been developed during her time as Officer in Charge of the Regional Operations Group (ROG), instrumental in coordinating and controlling numerous major public order incidents throughout Western Australia. Through her real-time analysis and prompt decision making on evolving situations, she provided clear and consistent direction to frontline and senior officers, helping resolve emerging situations quickly and safely.
Acting Superintendent Robinson consistently seeks to improve her leadership knowledge and understanding of difficult and sensitive issues in order to develop and apply solutions to complex policing problems which ultimately benefit the community. Her management of a delicate situation following the death of an armed female after a police shooting was a fine example in negotiation and consultation. By building consistent and empathetic engagements, she developed trust with the family and community members which helped to defuse any further potential conflicts, whilst also reinforcing the need for her team to remain calm and balanced.
Acting Superintendent Robinson leads by example, ensuring her team observes the core values and fundamentals of high visibility policing, maintaining respectful interaction and engagement. She is a worthy recipient of the Australian Police Medal.
DETECTIVE INSPECTOR NATALIE PALMER
Detective Inspector Palmer joined the WA Police Force as a cadet in 1981 and became a recruit the following year. She served in general duties and traffic branches before becoming a detective in 1989, building her career in metropolitan detective offices and specialist units and undertaking training roles. She progressed through the ranks to become an Inspector in 2014, most recently transferring from the Sex Crime Division to Special Crime Division as a Divisional Detective Inspector.
Her passion for learning and developing others is evident throughout her distinguished career. Notably, she was an Instructor at the Detective Training School and instrumental in establishing the Academic Pathways Unit. She created the Cyber Predator Team to assist the national strategy to specifically target online child abuse, working with the Attorney General to help develop new legislation to target online child sex offenders. In developing sound investigation techniques and processes to investigate suspects, a 100 percent conviction rate was achieved, exceeding government expectations and fostering public support and confidence in the ability of the WA Police Force to investigate and manage this crime type.
Many of the policies and procedures she created continue to assist officers in conducting international, national and state-based investigations of online child abuse. As the Assistant Divisional Officer for the Sex Offender Management Squad, she was responsible for the management of reportable sex offenders throughout the State. The mental health and wellbeing of her team is her utmost priority, and she continues to drive health and welfare initiatives at the Sex Crime Divisional Office.
Detective Inspector Palmer’s professionalism, integrity and compassion for others is a fine example, inspiring others to follow her lead. She is highly regarded for her commitment to improving business practices, and is a worthy recipient of the Australian Police Medal.
INSPECTOR CURTIS ROE
Inspector Roe joined the WA Police Force in 2001, working in traffic and metropolitan police stations. He quickly qualified as a detective, serving at numerous business areas within State Crime such as the Sex Assault Squad, Surveillance Unit, Homicide Squad and other metropolitan detective offices. This grounding developed him as an ideal leader in the demanding role as the Officer in Charge, Regional Investigation Unit since October 2021, recently renamed the Rapid Apprehension Squad (RAS).
As an excellent leader and manager, he consistently ensures his officers maintain a high level of commitment and accountability. This unwavering dedication enables the team to meet the demanding requirements of rapid deployment, particularly when investigating serious armed robberies and other similar high-end offending. He developed the capability of RAS to respond and investigate established criminal networks involved in large volume offending, employing Human Source, Automatic Number Plate Recognition and Jenoptik vehicle searches, Geofencing, Facematch and Telecommunication capabilities to quickly detect and apprehend some of the state’s most frequent high-harm offenders.
In December 2022, his squad won the team category in the WA Police Excellence Awards. Under his leadership, RAS were recognised for their dedication to frontline policing in the identification, location and association of some of the state’s most high harm and active offenders. The team work tirelessly to ensure community safety, whilst obtaining vital evidence and demonstrating empathy, understanding and care to victims. His networking ability has built strong trust with external agencies such as the Australian Banking Association’s Security Issue Forum. Such relationships deliver timely access to intelligence on suspects and immediate access to other evidence such as CCTV footage from ATMs in order to facilitate the early identification and arrest of suspects.
Inspector Roe has a lifelong commitment of self-improvement, earning a Master’s Degree and compiling an admirable military service record in the Australian Army Reserve. His leadership, innovation, actions and strong example to others make him a worthy recipient of the Australian Police Medal.
SENIOR SERGEANT MARK STONEMAN
Senior Sergeant Stoneman joined the WA Police Force in 1988, serving in a range of operational areas such as Broome Police Station, 79 Division and Major Incident Group, along with other roles at the Police Operations Centre and Police Assistance Centre. He has also held critical positions such as the Logistics Project Officer at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and as a District Controller.
These diverse roles prepared him for the demanding position as Officer in Charge of Kiara Police Station from 2016 to 2019 and Hillarys Police Station from 2019 to 2023 before recently becoming the current Officer in Charge of the Central Regional Operations Group. Under his leadership, when positioned at Kiara and Hillarys, both stations achieved significant decreases in reported offences, particularly burglaries, stolen motor vehicles, stealing and damage offences.
These achievements are a direct reflection of his exceptional ability for building strong and cohesive teams, employing a balanced and impactful leadership style and forging productive partnerships with essential stakeholders. His efforts in community consultation and championing CCTV upgrades have ensured the safety of people attending the Hillarys Boat Harbour, the second-most visited entertainment and tourist area in Western Australia, with over three million visitors annually.
Senior Sergeant Stoneman has also worked closely with the WA Police Academy to foster the Aboriginal Cadet Program, taking on several mentor roles that have improved the prospects of many Cadets. His consultation with local Aboriginal elders, youth workers, sporting organisations and other stakeholders have helped break down the barriers between indigenous youth and police through respectful engagement. A member of the committee for the Law Enforcement Torch Run, he runs the annual Polar Plunge Fundraiser at Hillarys Boat Harbour to assist with financial support for athletes with an Intellectual Disability, raising more than $85,000 in two years.
Senior Sergeant Stoneman epitomises the WA Police Force priorities of people, partnership and performance and is a worthy recipient of the Australian Police Medal.
SENIOR SERGEANT HEATH SOUTAR
Senior Sergeant Soutar joined the WA Police Force in 1986, serving in a range of frontline metropolitan roles before taking a career break in 1997. He re-joined the agency in 2002 working in police stations and specialist units, including the Regional Operations Group (ROG). Since his promotion to Senior Sergeant in 2014, he has been Officer in Charge of four Police Stations based throughout Regional WA, including his current position at the Australind Police Station.
He has displayed innovation, drive and integrity whilst policing in challenging work areas like ROG and in some of the most remote areas of the state, such as the Wiluna and Laverton communities. He has demonstrated a strong commitment to making positive change and advancing Aboriginal reconciliation. Recognising the value of cultivating strong, positive relationships, he prioritised this goal for his team as well as the broader communities he has led.
In Wiluna, he was accepted by the community and given a skin group of Milangka by the local Martu Elders as a way of acknowledging his commitment to their people and lands. Senior Sergeant Soutar has played a pivotal role in numerous projects that have significantly enhanced the agency's operational capabilities. Notably, in 2012, as a Tactical Commander at the Regional Operations Group (ROG), he was a key member of a working group tasked with the implementation of the Out of Control Gathering Legislation, actively driving its successful implementation. This legislation is still used to disperse people who have gathered for any range of unlawful purposes.
As a Project Manager at Business Solutions, he led the change towards online crime reporting through projects like Report My Lost Property, a reporting mechanism for members of the community to report crime in an expedient and accurate manner.
Senior Sergeant Soutar provides valued mentorship and support as part of the Peer Mentor Program and is always available for others who are struggling with the many challenges of being a police officer. He is a worthy recipient of the Australian Police Medal.