Rockingham officers’ bravery honoured

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
First Const. Gemma Palmer received a Special Commendation for Bravery and Snr Const. Neil Bowles received the WA Police Cross for Bravery.
Camera IconFirst Const. Gemma Palmer received a Special Commendation for Bravery and Snr Const. Neil Bowles received the WA Police Cross for Bravery. Credit: Supplied

Two officers from Rockingham police station have been recognised for their bravery in the face of raging fires.

Sen. Const. Neil Bowles received the WA Police Cross for Bravery for an incident in 2013 when he and his partner, Sen. Const. Paul Parks, pulled a burning plane apart to -rescue the pilot.

“The incident happened on September 18 in Geraldton, a plane had tried to return to the airport after developing problems but hit the perimeter fence and crashed into flames,” he said.

“We went into the smoke with an ambulance crew who had also just arrived and found the remains of the cockpit still on fire. The pilot was trapped inside and was being badly burned by the flames.

“The firies were a good 10 minutes away and the pilot was screaming for help so we went in and pulled the burning plane apart, enough to pull the pilot out of the wreckage.

“He was then conveyed to hospital for treatment, but his injuries were unfortunately too severe and he died a few days later.”

Sen. Const. Bowles said he was very proud to receive the bravery award at the academy.

“There were some truly amazing officers recognised that afternoon and to be able to be recognised with them was very humbling,” he said.

“The best parts of being a police officer are getting to work with some truly amazing people and to go home from work sometimes knowing that you have really made a difference in someone’s life.”

First Const. Gemma Palmer received a Special Commendation for Bravery for an incident in 2017, when she rescued a woman from a house fire.

“I was nominated by a fellow colleague and team mate, and was advised he had nominated both my partner and myself a few weeks after the incident. He had also attended the incident as a backup unit,” she said.

“It was a house fire that had been deliberately lit and we were the first emergency unit at scene. One of the occupants had managed to get out and call 000, however the female occupant was still asleep in the house when we got there.

“We got her out along with the family dog and then arrested the suspect who was still at the address.”

She said it was nice to be acknowledged at the awards, but felt any one of her colleagues would have done the same thing. “There were 41 police officers who received awards that evening and yet I can guarantee there are so many more officers that are also deserving of such an award for various incidents that have been attended,” she said.

“I was particularly happy to see some people I’ve worked alongside, receive awards that were truly well deserved.

She said one of the best part of her job was helping victims get the results they wanted in court.

While the job can also be tough at times, First Const. Palmer said the camaraderie she had with her teammates always helped her through the tough days.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails