If it was not for one close friend who stayed in touch with me I don't know where I would have ended up. Instead of getting into drugs and crime like many others my mate would take me to the gym and we would train together. Looking back it was his friendship and steering me towards exercise that probably saved me.

I joined the police in 1986 and graduated second in my squad. Life at the police academy was like a dream for me with three meals a day, a gym and warm showers, things I had learnt to live without when I was doing it tough. I am now Officer in Charge of Brisbane City Station and work very closely with homeless services helping police work together in operational partnerships reaching out to young people on the streets. My personal experience made my journey very relevant when I was given a chance to do something positive as a police officer. I am proud to say that police in the City and Valley now lead the way with positive programs to refer homeless and vulnerable people to help.

I now have a family of my own and with my wife Tracey we have fostered about 14 children from emergent situations. I have been awarded the Alumnus of the Year for Griffith University 2013, and in 2011 I completed a Churchill Fellowship researching youth homeless programs around the world. We have received a swag of awards and trophies for the great work done by police at my station focusing on helping vulnerable persons - but I consider the greatest reward has come from working with front line police who put themselves out there to help in many different ways every day, knowing that they are often helping young people not too different from me.

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