Emergency management cop takes out Rotary Police Officer of the Year Award

Detective Inspector Hassan El-Khansa from the Incident and Emergency Management Command has taken out the prestigious title of Rotary NSW Police Officer of the Year Award.

Judges deemed his dedication to the job and his commitment to going above and beyond for his community made him worthy of the overall award.

Detective Inspector El-Khansa, known for his expertise in natural disaster and crisis management, also took out the award in the “Metropolitan Field Operations Police Officer of the Year” category.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb APM, announced Detective Inspector El-Khansa as the winner at an awards function last Friday night (3 November 2023).

Having joined the NSW Police Force in 1998, Detective Inspector El-Khansa has 24 years’ experience as a police officer. He spent several years in general duties at Parramatta Local Area Command, working on large-scale operations such as the 2000 Sydney Olympics, before moving to the State Crime Command and leading the Arson Squad’s Strike Force Tronto for about a decade.

It was through his work at the Arson Squad which allowed him to assist communities during their dire time of need, working on several bushfire disasters including the 2018 Tathra bushfire and the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20. This pathway led him to being promoted to the rank of Detective Inspector at the Incident and Emergency Management Command.

He has a passion for emergency management and ensuring that police provide the best response possible to help the community, wanting to help bring an empathetic side to the police operation to protect life and property.

From joint agency efforts to keep devastating livestock viruses out of the country, to responding to a gas pipeline outage that left more than 20,000 residents without natural gas during an unseasonal cold snap – the variety of work undertaken within his role is vast. He also had an instrumental role at the State Emergency Operations Centre during the 2022 flood emergency across the state.

He is one of a handful of Urban Search & Rescue (USAR) accredited staff within the NSW Police Force. When a devastating earthquake occurred in Turkey earlier this year, NSW deployed a delegation of USAR qualified staff to assist in the response. Detective Inspector El-Khansa was the only NSW Police officer on the team.

When he received a call asking him to leave the next day, he packed his bags immediately and was away from his family for three weeks. The whole time he was away, his first thought was to help the local community as best he could while representing Australia.

Commissioner Webb congratulated Detective Inspector El-Khansa for his devotion to not only his career, but to the NSW community and beyond.

“Detective Inspector El-Khansa has demonstrated on numerous occasions that he goes above and beyond his normal duties, which is indicative of his approach to his policing vocation and work ethic,” Commissioner Webb said.

“I am pleased to award him the title of Rotary Police Officer of the Year for his service, commitment and passion to the profession.

“To all officers nominated this year, thank you all for your dedication to the job and the community of NSW,” Commissioner Webb said.

Winners in the other categories include:

Margaret Kerr – Volunteer of the Year – Tweed / Byron PD

Margaret Kerr began working as a VIP in June 2001, providing more than 20 years of support to Byron Bay PS. At 84, she’s achieved the remarkable feat of 15,055 volunteer hours for our organisation. To put that into perspective, based on a 38-hour week, this would equate to almost nine years of fulltime employment. Almost enough to qualify for long service leave! She brings a smile to all staff and often turns up with a freshly baked cake or slice to ensure the troops all get together for a cup of tea and a chat. But perhaps her most important role, is supporting police at music festivals like Bluesfest. She’s worked these events for 15-years and supports staff with admin tasks, lost and found and keeping the command post functional. And she never works the easy shifts – Ms Kerr will always work the busier night shifts between 6pm and midnight.

Ruth McConville – State Intelligence Command – Employee of the Year

Ruth McConville is a senior intelligence analyst attached to State Intelligence Command and the NSW Police Force representative on the Fintel Alliance, which brings together experts from banking institutions, law enforcement and intelligence agencies to fight money laundering, terrorism financing and other serious crime. In December 2020, Ms McConville identified that transaction payments were being used by individuals to harass, stalk or threaten victims, and criminals were using payment text fields to communicate using text and emoji. So, she initiated the Payment Reference Project. To date, Ms McConville has identified 582 incidents of abusive payment descriptions in Australia, of which 180 reports relate to NSW residents, the highest of all states. This has led to the arrest of nine DV offenders; five of whom have been convicted and four are still before the courts.

Ms McConville’s intelligence-led approach to domestic violence was the first of its kind and today is the NSW Police Force method for identifying online domestic violence abuse and breaches via transactions.

Senior Constable Melissa Rosevear – Riverstone Police Area Command – Rotary Community Award

Senior Constable Melissa Rosevear is a dedicated and compassionate Crime Prevention Officer (CPO) and specialist Youth Liaison Officer who exemplifies the role of a CPO, undertaking her duties with enthusiasm, commitment, professionalism, and always strives for positive victim and community outcomes.

She manages three volunteers in policing, responds quickly to emerging crime trends, and organises and attends many community engagements, including Next of Kin program and Dowry Abuse Forum.

Snr Cst Rosevear always adjusts her work schedule to ensure the command has excellent community representation at events. Her commander says that Snr Cst Rosevear’s passion to help people is above anything he’s experienced in the police before.

Senior Constable Paul Bates – Mt Druitt Police Area Command – Irene Jurgens Fellowship Award Sworn

Crime Prevention Officer, Senior Constable Paul Bates identified that a significant number of vulnerable people in the Mt Druitt area didn’t have security systems around their homes. This community includes people with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, the elderly, low socio-economic status, people living with disabilities and single parent families. Senior Constable Bates came up with the idea of giving victims of crime a free wireless video doorbell to give them more control over their security, and as a means for collecting evidence for court. It was such a good idea that IMB Bank donated $8000 to the project. He worked with Multicultural Community Liaison Officer Rana Barham and local police to identify victims of repeat break and enter, domestic violence and sexual assault. The safety cameras have not only made these people feel safer, they’ve also fostered relationships with local police and encouraged increased reporting.

Jemma McLeay – Port Stephens-Hunter Police District – Irene Jurgens Fellowship Award Unsworn

Ms Jemma McLeay joined this year as the Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer at Port Stephens-Hunter PD. She saw the impact of youth crime and anti-social behaviour on her local community, and from day one has been building relationships with her crime prevention colleagues, Youth Command staff and local Aboriginal communities. With community support, she helped developed a youth engagement program for at-risk young people, which provides a space for kids to hang out, listen to music, or participate in activities such as arts and crafts, table tennis etc. Community recognition of the program has led to it being extended to two afternoons a week, with the support of local high schools. She also works with at-risk youths on a one-on-one basis, which includes helping local Aboriginal students obtain their HSC by personally ensuring school attendance.

Detective Senior Constable Anthony Costello – Terrorism Investigations Squad – Customer Service Excellence Award

This nomination was submitted by a victim.

Senior Constable Anthony Costello was the OIC for my sexual assault matter, so my dealings with him came at one of the most significant, difficult, and isolating times in my life. From the very beginning, Senior Constable Costello was always there for me. I struggle to think of a time we did not speak multiple times a week for extended periods of time, with Senior Constable Costello always getting back to me promptly and going over all my questions and concerns with the patience of a saint. He embodies everything that I think a police officer should be. I genuinely cannot think of a single thing he could have done more, or better to help me. It is difficult to overstate how important his role has been in my healing process.

Senior Sergeant Shane Markham – Learning Development & Delivery Command – Corporate Services Police Officer of the Year

Senior Sergeant Shane Markham’s innovative and impactful initiatives have played a pivotal role in reshaping education within the NSW Police Force. He identified a need for new ways to meet the educational requirements of the NSW Police Force, understanding that modern life has reduced people’s time to learn via traditional methods. As a result, Senior Sergeant Markham developed MicroLearn – a training product that delivers bite-sized learning videos direct to staff emails.

Leading Senior Constable Cristina Faraone – Forensic Evidence & Technical Services Command –

Investigations & Counter Terrorism Police Officer of the Year

Leading Senior Constable Cristina Faraone joined the NSW Police Force in 2015 with a desire to use her strong technical aptitude to help in the investigation of serious and major crime. She joined the Digital Forensics Unit, High Tech Crime Branch in 2020. She commenced a self-initiated project to ensure that the Digital Forensics Unit could keep pace with ongoing technological advancements, as well as resolving the challenges specific to preserving digital evidence. As a result of her work in this area, the Digital Forensics Unit has been able to successfully obtain digital evidence from multiple devices, that was previously unrecoverable.

Detective Senior Constable Kelly McGann – Oxley Police District – Regional NSW Field Operations Police Officer of the Year

Detective Senior Constable Kelly McGann has been a member of the NSW Police Force since 1998. She’s worked in general duties, criminal investigations, Crime Prevention Unit and in other specialist positions including at the State Surveillance Branch and the NSW Crime Commission. During her time at the State Surveillance Branch and the NSW Crime Commission, she was awarded the NSW Police Force Commissioner’s Unit Citation twice for unrelated investigations – the safe recovery of a kidnapping victim and the successful resolution of two large scale, organised drug operations. Detective Senior Constable McGann continues to impress and consistently displays strong and decisive leadership. This was through recent floods in the Quirindi sector, during which she helped in the evacuation of an elderly resident, and through periods of increased crime. In 2023, she was successful in a temporary appointment as the Quirindi Sector Supervisor.

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