- Charles Sturt graduate making Police Force inclusive and accepting for LGBTIQA+ community
- The Pro Cst received her first posting at Sutherland Shire, close to where she grew up
- Police Week will be held in Australia from Saturday 17 September
A new Probationary Constable in Sutherland Shire is ensuring the NSW Police Force is a safe and inclusive environment for people in the LGBTIQA+ community.
Pro Cst Rhian Peppernell graduated from the Charles Sturt University Associate Degree in Policing Practice and has been posted to Sutherland Shire Police Area Command.
She is no stranger to the legal system having completed a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts (Politics major) and working in legal firms assisting lawyers in criminal law, family law, construction law, litigation and property law.
As a lawyer of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, she practiced at a global firm in Sydney in the real estate practice group.
“I always saw myself becoming a police officer and in 2021 I decided to pivot and change careers,” she said.
“My legal career was not providing a sense of personal satisfaction that I was searching for and I knew that it would be easier to make the change now.
“Since becoming a police officer, I found that purpose in my life that I was searching for as I could make a difference in other’s lives, however small or large that may be.”
Pro Cst Peppernell said the education and training provided at Charles Sturt has been invaluable to her role.
She said learning legislation that dictates how police operate and how to safely use a firearm was crucial in ensuring competency in the field.
Pro Cst Peppernell and her wife live with their two dogs south of Sydney near beautiful, unpopulated beaches. As a member of the LGBTIQA+ community, she said it was important for her to be able to bring these values to her job.
Since joining the force, she has become a Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer (GLLO) as a point of contact for her colleagues in the LGBTIQA+ community, to spread awareness of LGBTIQA+ experiences and create a safe space to break down barriers between the police force and community.
“In joining the NSW Police Force I knew that I wanted to empower women and members of the LGBTIQA+ community,” she said.
“The NSW Police Force is diverse and in our role as officers we can make a difference and create safe spaces for all genders, ethnicities, sexualities and socio-economic circumstances within the Police Force and wider community.
“My hope for the role within the command is for it to create positive experiences where members of the LGBTIAQ+ community feel heard and comfortable reporting crime.”
“It is a career that will provide you with experiences unlike any other job and a sense of personal satisfaction in helping the community you serve. The job is fun, dynamic, and no two days are ever the same, which means you’ll rarely be bored and often adrenaline filled,” she said.
“You will have exciting days but also incredibly tough days. The good days will outweigh the tough ones.
“On the tougher days, it’s important to remind yourself of … why you became a police officer.
“Be sure to hold this reason close to you because you will need to come back to it and it will assist in your resilience and tenacity in the job.”
Becoming an officer in the area she grew up was important for Pro Cst Peppernell, who said she is now able to serve and protect the area she where spent her childhood.
“This is a command close to my heart as it is where I grew up,” she said.
“It excites me to be able to serve the community, which involves so many of my friends and family, as well as the police force which kept me safe growing up as a child.”
Pro Cst Peppernell one day hopes to work as a detective in the Child Abuse Squad and is not ruling out gaining experience in a rural area to broaden her knowledge and skillset.