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Two local police officers awarded prestigious Australian Police Medal

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Simon Mumford

10 June 2024, 1:48 AM

Two local police officers awarded prestigious Australian Police MedalSuperintendent Scott Tanner at Nimbin in October 2020

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.

Two officers from the Richmond Police District were among the eight who were awarded the APM: Superintendent Scott Tanner and Detective Sergeant Michael Smith.

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).

Superintendent Tanner, who has been in the police force for over 30 years, said it was very humbling to receive the award after over 30 years.

"It's been a long journey and gone exceptionally quick, but I'd do it all again."

"To use a sporting parlance, policing is a team sport, and while it's nice to receive the individual accolades, I've worked with some really good people. There was no better example of that than the way we helped move through the 2022 floods. This is a reward for everyone that works around here."

As part of the APM awards, NSW Police releases short bio for each recipient.

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.

Superintendent Tanner has known the Detective Sergeant Smith for 25 years.

"He has always been an outstanding police office and I think he is the longest serving tactical operator in the region. Michael is a phenomenal police officer and a really, really good person to go with it."

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.

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.”

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