Meet one of Gladstone’s school-based police officers
WHEN Sarah Box was in high school, she never dreamt she would be a uniformed police officer, back at school again.
"I definitely never imagined that I would be a police officer working in a school, however, most of my time at school I wanted to be teacher," she said.
Now acting Senior Constable Box is one of the region's school-based police officers, working predominantly in Gladstone State High School, but assisting at Toolooa and Tannum Sands.
After roles as a general-duties officer and in the child protection investigation unit over the past four-and-a-half years, Snr-Constable Box said she was delighted to replace Snr-Constable Andrew Cary as a SBPO.
"Snr-Constable Carey was based at Gladstone State High School for six years and did a fantastic job, laying down a great platform for me to follow," she said.
"I think it's a very valuable role, much more preventive than other police work I have done.
"You get to engage with students and young people, possibly before they may start going down the wrong track, to steer them away from doing the wrong thing and provide them some education around law enforcement and policing."
After relieving at Toolooa State High School as SBPO last year, Snr-Constable Box started at Gladstone State High School four weeks ago.
"I feel very fortunate to work in this role and my presence has been extremely well received by the school community," she said.
Equipped with all the equipment of a general duties officer, Snr-Constable Box has a strong presence at the school, with her own office and patrol car parked in the carpark.
"I do a lot of the same things I did in the child protection unit, like dealing with young people that commit offences and assisting young people who may have had offences committed against them, so a lot of my skills were transferable," she said.
"It's about building positive relationships between police and the school community and the police and the students.
"Students aren't afraid to come and have a chat, as it's an easier option for them rather than going to the police station, and that goes for the entire school community."
Engaging with the students is the most rewarding part of the job.
"The students keep me laughing regularly and will generally have something funny to say," she said.
"Being able to build those relationships and to be engaged with as many students as possible is my goal.
"My role benefits both police and the students, as well as the entire community."
Snr-Constable Box said most of her days were incident-free.
"There has been instances when ex-students have trespassed on school grounds and have needed to be removed by police," she said.