Gladstone police Crime Prevention Officer Senior Constable Wendy Kinsley and Senior Police Liaison Officer Jo Corowa. Picture: Rodney Stevens
Gladstone police Crime Prevention Officer Senior Constable Wendy Kinsley and Senior Police Liaison Officer Jo Corowa. Picture: Rodney Stevens

The cop who can’t arrest and has no gun in Gladstone

JO Corowa doesn't have handcuffs or a Taser, and can't arrest people, but as a senior police liaison officer her contribution to Gladstone police is incredibly valuable.

The cousin of NRL legend Larry Corowa has been building bridges between indigenous communities and police in CQ for nine years.

"I liaise between police and community, so if community have problems they sometimes feel more comfortable talking to me," she said.

"I have nieces and nephews and other young people who have said 'I want to be a police officer just like you'.

"So I ensure communities are in touch with their culture and make sure they are on a good path.

"I go to their houses and have a good yarn with them to explain things and show them that police aren't just robots, they're real people like me and you, they just have a job to uphold the law."

Gladstone police crime prevention officer Senior Constable Wendy Kinsley works hand-in-hand with Snr-PLO Corowa.

"Having police liaison officers in certain areas throughout Queensland helps break down communication barriers, to help gain understanding from both sides, and to be aware of cultural sensitivities and cultural issues," Snr-Constable Kinsley said.

"We do that foremost as it's good communication, it builds great community relationships and for crime prevention.

"Jo does a wonderful job in our community of building rapport, keeping connections and establishing the identity between police and culture.

"Jo, with the rapport she has built, explains to communities that police do things in certain ways because they have to, because that is their responsibility, which comes with their powers and the oath they took to uphold the law."

Her application process was the same, but Snr-PLO Corowa's training at the police academy differed as she doesn't have the same powers as sworn police.

"Our training involved lots of different scenarios we could face every day on the job - how to negotiate and how to deal with different situations and different cultures," she said.

"We can't carry a gun or a Taser or handcuffs, and we can't arrest people.

"I worked up in Mackay for eight years and was transferred to Gladstone almost 12 months ago.

"I also try to teach police officers how different cultures should be respected and upheld in the community."

Often, when tensions escalate, Snr-PLO Corowa is on the front line helping police manage extremely difficult situations.

"It's a tough gig, but Jo does it with great professionalism and understanding," Snr-Constable Kinsley said.

"Without her knowledge of culture and her skills, the job of police would be extremely difficult sometimes."



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