Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a Sergeant, mother, and wife? We catch up with Sergeant Gemma Gallagher of the NSW Police Force and find out how she juggles her daily life.
Gemma, tell us a bit about yourself and family?
My father worked on the railways, so our family moved houses a bit. The family was living at Broken Hill when I was born. At age two, we moved to Werris Creek and lived there until I was nine years old. We then moved to New Lampton at Newcastle, where my parents still live. I am the youngest of six kids, having four brothers and one sister. I met my husband, Simon, whilst working at Pennant Hills Police Station. We were both Constables working together and got married in 2000 and now have three beautiful daughters.
How long have you been in the NSW Police Force?
I attended the Goulburn Police Academy in 1994. I was in class 257. There were about 140 students in the class at the time, with approximately 20 of them being female. I attested on the 21st August that year.
Can you tell us a bit about your history in Policing?
When I attested from the Police Academy, I was stationed at Hornsby Police Station for the first three months. I then relocated to Pennant Hills and worked General Duties until 1997, where I then moved to Eastwood. I remained at Eastwood until early 2000. I then transferred to Bourke with my husband and continued to work General Duties until 2005, where I gained promotion to the rank of Sergeant and moved to Armidale with my husband.
What duties do you currently perform?
Being a General Duties Sergeant, I am responsible for the Supervision and daily operations of the shift. I also manage a number of staff on my team. I attend major incidents and oversight operational requirements until resolved.
Being a female in the NSW Police Force would have had its challenges. How did you handle them?
When I first started Policing at Pennant Hills, I was one of two females performing duty there. Being male orientated, there was a culture entrenched back then. The NSW Police has continued to recruit and support women in Policing and have taken great steps into dealing with equal opportunity and equality in the workplace. In my opinion, the organisation has done a great job.
What would you say to any female considering joining the NSW Police?
NSW Police is a very challenging and rewarding job. It offers long term career prospects. It is not for everyone, due to the sometimes confronting issues that have to be dealt with long term and on a daily basis, along with a large amount of shift work. In saying that, I work with a great bunch of dedicated officers whose camaraderie is second to none. I still enjoy coming to work and seeing the community’s problems being fixed. I like the country aspect of Policing. By living in Armidale, I am able to build a rapport with the community and take ownership to ensure we all live in a safer city. I give this advice to both males and females considering a career in the NSW Police Force.