Nine NSW Police officers honoured in King’s Birthday Honors list

The Minister for Police and the NSW Police Commissioner have congratulated eight serving and one former officer who have been awarded the prestigious Australian Police Medal (APM) as part of the King’s Birthday 2024 Honours.

Nominations for the awards can be by an officer’s peers, commander or a member of the community, and are announced twice a year, in January (Australia Day) and June (King’s Birthday).

Among the recipients are senior officers from the Public Transport & Public Safety Command Major Event Group, State, Newcastle City Police District, Lake Macquarie Police District, Public Affairs Branch, Richmond Police District, State Intelligence, Police Property Group and the Rural Crime Prevention Team.

Minister for Police and Counter-terrorism Yasmin Catley thanked the officers for their dedication and hard work.

“These police officers are being recognised for their exceptional work, and they could not be more deserving of this outstanding achievement.”

“They have gone above and beyond for the people of NSW, and I want to personally thank them for their service.”

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb APM congratulated those officers who have been bestowed the APM.

“Through this award these officers have been recognised for their dedication to not only the policing profession but for their service to the people of NSW,” Commissioner Webb APM said.

“Every one of these police have each given decades of selfless service.”

“Receiving this award will go down as one of the highlights of their career.”

The APM recipients are:

Chief Inspector Amanda Lee Calder – Public Transport & Public Safety Command Major Event Group

Retired Detective Sergeant Matthew David Faber – Formerly attached to Newcastle City Police District

Detective Sergeant Kristi Lee Faber – Lake Macquarie Police District

Superintendent Kirsty Maree Heyward – Public Affairs Branch

Detective Sergeant Michael Barry Smith – Richmond Police District

Superintendent Scott Richard Tanner – Richmond Police District

Senior Sergeant Catherine Ann Urquhart – State Intelligence

Detective Superintendent David Anthony Waddell – Police Property Group

Detective Chief Inspector Cameron James Whiteside – Rural Crime Prevention Team


Chief Inspector Amanda Lee Calder

Chief Inspector Amanda Calder joined the NSW Police Force on 23 July 1993 and was stationed at Manly Police Station in general duties. In 1996 she took up highway patrol duties at North Sydney for a period of five years, and in 2001 transferred to the Metropolitan Crash Investigation Unit until 2003. She then moved onto the Media, Marketing Unit and corporate communications where she was promoted to sergeant in 2004, senior sergeant in 2007 and inspector in 2008.

As an inspector, Chief Inspector Calder moved through strategic management positions at the Public Affairs Branch. She undertook roles such as commander of the Security Management Unit, staff officer of the Police Transport Command, duty officer at the Surry Hills Unit, traffic and highway patrol regio tactician and to her current role as the manager of the Planning and Delivery Team for the Major Events Group. With over 10 years of managerial experience overseeing high-level projects, personnel, facilities, equipment and budgets, Chief Inspector Calder has forged strong relationships with both internal and senior external stakeholder representatives inclusive of government agencies, the media, and the private sector.

As the manager of the Planning and Delivery Team, Chief Inspector Calder led Operation Border Closure (2020) during which she was responsible for the planning and delivery of human resources and logistics, deploying 14,800 police over 29 weeks. Chief Inspector Calder also oversaw Operation Sydney WorldPride (2023) during which she was responsible for managing the project team focused on ensuring the safety of the community linked to 14 major events held across Sydney over two weeks. Chief Inspector Calder is responsible for managing a number of strategic state-level portfolios for the NSW Police Force, including logistics, procurement contracts linked to meals, assets linked to transport, coordination of prisoner transport and escorts and management of major on-road events.

Chief Inspector Calder is considered a subject matter expert in respect of the niche portfolios she has managed, often providing strategic advice to both internal and external senior stakeholder representatives. Chief Inspector Calder has been instrumental in identifying and implementing new systems and processes, focused on delivering efficiencies, enhanced capabilities, and overall savings for the NSW Police Force.

Retired Detective Sergeant Matthew David Faber

Retired Detective Sergeant Matthew Faber joined the NSW Police Force on 25th January 1991 and was stationed at Cabramatta Police Station then Wetherill Park Police Station in general duties. In October 1996 he started fulltime in criminal investigation duties at Wetherill Park Police Station, later to become the Green Valley Local Area Command and was designated as a detective in 1999. In April 2000 he transferred to the Newcastle Detectives Unit and was promoted to detective sergeant in 2004.

From 2001 Mr Faber led many notable strike forces (SF) involving serious and violent crimes such as murder, sexual assault, abduction and armed robberies. The strike forces Mr Faber led include SF Testa, SF Inspection, SF Finni, Harrick, SF Giffen and SF Backhouse investigating the execution style murder of woman in her Stockton home. The offenders of each crime were charged as a result of each offence.

In 2011 Mr Faber led SF Kerwin, a five-month investigation targeting multiple groups, resulting in the charging of 23 offenders for armed robberies, attempted murder, firearm offences, drug offences and other strictly indictable offences.

In 2013 while leading SF Correa, he investigated the murder of two elderly residents and attempted murder of a third resident in a nursing home. The subsequent 14-month investigation involved taking more than 750 statements and a variety of covert and overt investigative strategies being employed to illuminate every person and isolate the killer. The offender was convicted at trial and sentenced to 40 years jail.

Mr Faber has over 33 years’ experience working field operations in the busiest commands in the state. Throughout that time, he undertook numerous investigations in all categories of major crime and has been awarded the annual Detectives Board Award – Best Investigation twice – in 2013-14 and 2016-17.

Detective Sergeant Kristi Lee Faber

Detective Sergeant Kristi Faber commenced her career as a NSW police officer on 23 October 1992 stationed at Burwood Police Station conducting general duties. In 1993 she attained the rank of constable and in 1994 transferred to the detective’s office at Campsie Police Station. Following this she took up a position at Bankstown Detectives office in 1997. She was designated as a detective in 1999 and then transferred to Maitland Detectives.

In 2000 she transferred to the Lake Macquarie detective’s office where she has remained for the last 24 years. In 2006 she was promoted to the rank of detective sergeant within the Lake Macquarie Detectives Unit and has relieved as the Lake Macquarie crime manager periodically since 2015.

In her role as the team leader at the Lake Macquarie Criminal Investigations Unit, Detective Sergeant Faber has pursued prosecuting child sex offenders with results that have achieved national and international attention. She has displayed excellent customer service as part of her varied duties in the Hunter Region, including the investigation of many cases relating to child sexual assault offences.

In 2008, Detective Sergeant Faber established Strike Force Georgiana to investigate child sexual assaults committed in Newcastle. This strike force would continue for 12 years, becoming one of the longest running in the New South Wales Police Force’s history and result in prosecutions which made headlines internationally and facilitated legislative change in New South Wales. Detective Sergeant Faber was also instrumental in the investigation of crimes committed by a former member of parliament, and their eventual conviction and custodial sentence. The strike force, which was passionately led by Detective Sergeant Faber, laid over 600 charges against 19 offenders and obtained over 800 witness statements.

Superintendent Kirsty Maree Heyward

Superintendent Kirsty Heyward joined the NSW Police Force (NSWPF) on 13 November 1996 and performed general duties at Bankstown, Kogarah and St George commands. In 2003 she moved into the Prosecutions Command as a police prosecutor, an area where she remained for 20 years. During this time, she received a number of promotions, and then in 2019 was promoted to superintendent as operations manager and commander of Police Prosecutions Command. In 2023 she moved to become the commander of Blacktown Police Area Command.

Whilst relieving as the assistant commissioner of Police Prosecuting & Licensing Enforcement she led and directed resources of the Police Prosecutions Command, Operational Legal Services

Command, Firearms Registry and Security & Licensing Enforcement Directorate within dynamic environments and periods of reform.

Superintendent Heyward assumed leadership amid ongoing organisational change and pressures, including risks to the health and safety of employees due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She identified NSWPF and community risks in the management of the firearms license renewal process and introduced risk mitigation strategies and business enhancements for the Firearms Registry. She led consultations with key stakeholders, including digital technology and innovation to clearly communicate the issues, risks and opportunities to enhance the Gun Safe system.

Superintendent Heyward was the commander of more than 400 police members deployed across numerous business streams throughout the state and chaired the Prosecutor Education Program (PEP) Review Committee to provide a considered alternative to prosecutor education. In collaboration with the Education & Training Command, a modern training course of shortened duration was created which has improved the retention and proficiency of trainee prosecutors.

Superintendent Heyward designed the centralised Regional Weekend Bail Court model and established legal professional privilege for legal advice provided by non-legally qualified prosecutors. Superintendent Heyward introduced the automated exchange of court papers to ensure business continuity across local and children’s court jurisdictions during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Detective Sergeant Michael Barry Smith

Detective Sergeant Michael Smith joined the NSW Police Force on 25 June 1987 and commenced at Penrith Police Station in general duties. In 1989, he transferred to the Penrith Highway Patrol where he undertook road policing duties with passion. In March 1990, he transferred to the Lismore Highway Patrol, and in May 1993 to the Lismore Police station conducting general duties. In October 1993 he commenced investigative duties with the Lismore Detectives Unit. In 1996 he moved to the Northern Region Major Crime Squad, followed by the Major Crime Squad Drug Unit at Lismore. In 1997 transferred to the Ballina Criminal Investigation Unit.

In February 2004 he joined Richmond Target Action Group, where he led a team of junior police targeting serious crime across Richmond Police District. In March 2004 he was promoted to detective sergeant. In June 2009 he transferred to Richmond Police Department Drug Unit, and in December 2012, Detective Sergeant Smith assumed the role of the Investigations Unit team leader at the Ballina Detectives Office.

Detective Sergeant Smith has also been performing Regional Tactical Policing duties as a member of the Tactical Operations Regional Support Unit (formerly State Protection Support Unit) for over 28 years.

Throughout his career, Detective Sergeant Smith has received numerous commendations and recognitions for his leadership and brave actions, such as his role in responding to a shark attack on a 32-year-old bodyboarder at Lighthouse Beach, Ballina. He also personally conducted numerous rescues during the 2022 Lismore Floods, showing outstanding actions and exceptional leadership in taking charge of police and emergency services and orchestrating the evacuation of elderly residents from retirement villages, including palliative care patients. His dedication to duty under extremely hazardous conditions during a high-risk operation in Mullumbimby, as well as his exceptional service and unwavering commitment during Strike Force Durkin have been recognised with the awarding of Commissioners Unit Citations.

Detective Sergeant Smith embodies the ideal officer within the NSW Police Force. His remarkable blend of experience, dedication, leadership, and integrity exemplifies the very essence of our organisation’s values and mission.

Superintendent Scott Richard Tanner

Superintendent Scott Tanner joined the NSW Police Force on 24 January 1993 and performed general duties at Newcastle, Wallsend, Grafton, Nymboida, Manilla, Gunnedah, Coonabarabran, Dubbo, Armidale and Lismore police stations. He has spent much of his career in regional NSW in general duties, including lock up keeper roles.

In 2003 he was promoted to sergeant at Gunnedah Police Station before further promotion in 2010 to duty officer at Coonabarabran Police Station. He was promoted to superintendent in 2018 and became the commander at New England Police District before transferring to his current position in 2020 as the commander of Richmond Police District.

As a proud ‘country cop’, Superintendent Tanner has always devoted himself to being a strong part of the fabric of the country towns he has worked and lived in. Superintendent Tanner also spent a number of years in tactical policing as an operational member of the then State Protection Support Unit as well as the Operational Support Group.

In 2022, one of the most significant flooding events in Australian history took place at Lismore where Superintendent Tanner was the commander. This unprecedented event resulted in over 2,500 people being rescued and six people tragically losing their lives in a 24-hour period. Superintendent Tanner was the local emergency operations controller and managed this large-scale event during the emergency and over the following weeks, which saw many people isolated and unaccounted for. His leadership during this time, was of the highest standard.

Superintendent Tanner went on to assist Deputy Commissioner Lanyon APM in the recovery efforts for this disaster situation where over many months they repatriated or moved thousands of residents to safe and secure accommodation, engaged government and led other agencies in the process of bringing towns back to business as usual. He became the go to person for mayors, ministers and the public alike.

Senior Sergeant Catherine Ann Urquhart

Commencing a distinguished 43-year career in 1981, Senior Sergeant Catherine Urquhart has been an integral part of intelligence support provided to numerous squads, task forces and operations, including the protracted investigation into the Ivan Milat backpacker murders conducted by Task Force Air.

Following an already long and distinguished career in the NSW Police Force in 2018, Senior Sergeant Urquhart developed, designed, and set up the Intelligence Coordination Centre at the State Intelligence Command to effectively manage, document and appropriately disseminate all intelligence information. Prior to this, often critical information was submitted to the NSW Police Force via many different avenues, with no centralised method of recording.

Senior Sergeant Urquhart identified this as a significant risk to the organisation and set about creating a unit which would be integral in mitigating this risk. She did this by establishing processes to record incoming and outgoing intelligence information shared between the NSW Police Force and other agencies including, but not limited to, the Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force, and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.

Senior Sergeant Urquhart’s unwavering dedication, exemplary leadership and pioneering spirit embody the highest ideals of professionalism and service. Her contribution to the advancement of intelligence practice within the NSW Police Force cannot be understated, and her legacy will continue to inspire and guide future generations of intelligence professionals, leaving an indelible mark on the fabric of the organisation.

Detective Superintendent David Anthony Waddell

Detective Superintendent David Waddell joined the NSW Police Force (NSWPF) on 26 October 1990 at Blacktown Police Station. In 1993, he joined the Tactical Operations Unit. There he was personally involved in hundreds of high risk jobs and resolutions.

In 1996 he moved to plain clothes duties at Prospect Anti Theft Squad then to the Quakers Hill Detectives Office. In 1998 he transferred to Lightning Ridge Police Station and was designated as a detective. Whilst at Lightning Ridge he continued in tactical policing as a Field Supervisor and operative. In 2000 he was appointed as a Detective Sergeant at the Brisbane Water Anti-Theft Squad, working on the Coast in Anti Theft, Drug and Detective offices, as well as an Undercover Supervisor. In 2006 he became the Detective Inspector and Crime Manager at Waratah Police Station. In June 2018 he was promoted to Superintendent and Commander of Ryde Police Area Command. In 2020 he became the Commander of the Tactical Operations Group, in 2022 the Commander of Blacktown Police Station and in July 2023 the Operations Manager of the Northern Region.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Detective Superintendent Waddell was given the responsibility as the NSWPF Coordinator to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) deployment into NSW. He worked with senior military personnel, facilitating the ADF’s role in assisting NSWPF and NSW Health in large scale vaccine roll outs to regional and remote communities, especially in western and northern NSW and was instrumental in vaccinating vulnerable Aboriginal communities, as well as other functions performed by the ADF across the state of NSW during this period.

Detective Superintendent Waddell has been recognised as a future leader at the executive level of the NSWPF having relieved at the assistant commissioner level at the North West Metropolitan Region, Forensic Evidence and Technical Services, Traffic and Highway Patrol, Capability, Performance and Youth Command, Northern Region and the Police Property Group.

Detective Superintendent Waddell is currently leading a project, for which he was handpicked by the Commissioner of Police. If endorsed for statewide implementation in the field of Special Victims, this project will see the most vulnerable of victims of crime given even greater attention and care to ensure the best chance of appropriate outcomes.

Detective Chief Inspector Cameron James Whiteside

Detective Chief Inspector Cameron Whiteside joined the NSW Police Force on 28th April 1989 at Casino Police Station in general duties, then moved to Mudgee Police Station in 1994 performing the same duty. In 1997 Detective Chief Inspector commenced plain clothes duty at Mudgee Police Station and was designated a detective in 1998. He was promoted to detective sergeant in 2001 and to detective inspector in 2012. Between 1998 and 2017 Detective Chief Inspector Whiteside investigated and led several significant homicides and serious and complex crimes. He was appointed State Rural Crime Coordinator in 2017 and now coordinates 63 officers across 28 regional locations.

Detective Chief Inspector Whiteside developed Operation Stock Check within NSW, which, due to his strong working relationships with other law enforcement agencies, has now been extended to become a national operation. This operation is a high visibility operation preventing and disrupting the movement of stolen livestock within Australia and contains a training program to teach all police officers how to conduct a livestock carrier inspection and relevant legislation pertaining to movement of stock.

Detective Chief Inspector Whiteside is currently an executive member of the International Society for the Study of Rural Crime and the only serving law enforcement officer on the executive. He is a member of the advisory board for the Centre of Rural Criminology (CRC) at the University of New England (UNE) and has forged a significant relationship with UNE and in particular the CRC sharing and linking the world of academia to practitioners in the field of rural crime.

In July 2022, he was invited and attended the 75th Annual International Livestock Identification Association Conference by the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Special Rangers which was held in Fort Worth Texas. He presented on the experience, success, and capability of the Rural Crime Prevention Team in respect to policing rural crime in NSW.

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