23 April 2007

Audrey Fagan dead

| johnboy
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I have this from two sources. The ACT’s Chief Police Officer, Audrey Fagan, is dead.

No further details at this time.

UPDATED: Radio reports on the ABC say it was while on holiday and “no suspicious circumstances”.

Further Update: Jon Stanhope has put out a media release which praises CPO Fagan but offers no insight into her demise. It’s early days but one begins to wonder about the dancing around the cause of death.

The AFP’s media release is now also available.

Another update: Mainstream media has finally caught up and a plethora of sources are on this story.

A thought: This is the same Queensland Police Force that can happily declare “no suspicious circumstances” when Aborigines are murdered in police cells. I don’t see how much short of a royal commission can be avoided here.

MORE: Simon Corbell got a media release online late last night it indicates that Deputy Chief Police Officer Shane Connelly will continue as Acting Chief Police Officer.

And again: The Canberra Times has bestirred itself to put the story on its website.

Big news: The SMH finally has some details:

“It is believed the mother-of-one died by hanging. Queensland police said there were no suspicious circumstances.

Yesterday, AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty would not confirm the death of the 26-year police veteran was a suicide. He said Ms Fagan had been burdened by media criticism of poor police media management, and recently undertook professional support for stress.

“Clearly, she felt the pressure of the campaign of the criticism over the last couple of weeks,” he said.”

Can anyone suggest a circumstance in which it is not either; suicide, or suspicious? I also note the serious boot being laid into the Canberra Times (and possibly us I suppose). I would suggest that if the CPO was tipped over the edge by a call for more media access then Mr Keelty needs to be looking seriously at the support and resources his organisation was providing her with. Either way there needs to be a major inquiry.

CT Overload: The Canberra Times is going wall to wall on this today. Most of the stories say the same thing over and over because, at the end of the day, very little is known. So there are stories here, here, here, and here.

More significantly the CT Editor in Chief, Jack Waterford has damned with faint praise before going on to defend his past criticisms.

Monday update: The Brisbane Times is claiming that two notes have been found.

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I think your line of thinking might be very warm onlooker.

Hanging. Most unusual method for a female. Especially one who, I would have assumed, had access to a gun. But so loaded with symbolism, I struggle to believe CPO Fagan chose it by chance. Which leaves me wondering what the poor woman was going through and what circumstances could drive someone who must have dealt with plenty of pressure and stress over the years to that.

There’s been no suggestion so far of any personal issues. I can’t help but feel CPO Fagan had a point to make. If that’s the case, I hope her death isn’t in vain because I have a strong suspicion it’s a point that needs to be heard and heeded by plenty of people in this town.

Whether that includes bullying from within the ranks of the police force remains to be seen. But I’m far from alone in believing there’s a culture of bullying in this town and that ultimately, it emanates from the gang of three. In that respect, much of the commentary on this site has been spot on. There’s too much power concentrated in the too few hands of people with too little talent, and an absent, inadequate or dysfunctional system of checks and balances.

Did Audrey have any enemies ?
Did Audrey receive death threats like the former police commissioner (MY WHITE KNIGHT) Peter Ryan ?

Does this have anything to do with the Late David Lambda and the WODD ROTAL COMMITION ?

Could not resist clicking on the link that JB provided for “stupid onlooker”. I kid you not the first words that the highlighter picked out on the first hit were “Stupid” ”Boys are Stupid” and “Stupid White Man”. lol.

you’re free to take whatever you like from what has been said.

smiling politely1:09 pm 28 Apr 07

Hang on – Onlooker makes some legitimate and, clearly, considered responses to other posts and then, by virtue of the fact that she uses Google – perhaps unwisely – as a means of trying to illustrate her views, everything that she’s said is thus invalidated?

Sure Johnboy, your site and everything, you can say what you want and allow schmooks like me and everyone else to join in, but taking cheap shots like this hardly adds to the reputation of a site you’ve worked so hard to develop.

Article in the Australian on Audrey Fagan’s funeral.

Google News turns up a bunch of articles, that one is the most detailed.

Absent Diane3:48 pm 27 Apr 07

absent diane of the imminent present doesn’t exist


ps I love this new way of determining who is right in an argument.. fantastic concept!!

bonfire always right

1,020,000 googles

You can play anytime you like, but such fatuously irrelevant data being introduced invalidates your opinion in this discussion as far as I’m concerned.

For example googling stupid onlooker brings up 101,000 results.

Whereas handsome johnboy only has 26,100 entries.

Sadly making you four times stupider than I am handsome by this utterly meaningless datum.

I’m not going to address the other issues here, frankly today is not the day for it.

Oh johnboy whatever happened to three strikes and you are out? Maybe, I think to myself, he didn’t read my next sentence and thinks that I believe that she who gets the highest number of hits wins? Maybe it’s no longer cool to Google? Will I ever be allowed to play on RiotACT again?

Onlooker – I agree that workplace bullying is a real problem, in many organisations, not just the AFP. It’s a thread that this site might want to pick up and riff on about for a long time. (Think about being a News Ltd or ABC journalist who doesn’t buy into the groupthink, a public servant who is sceptical about management or an ACT teacher outside the mutual-advancement clique at a school).

But at this stage, we don’t know how Ms Fagan died, although there seems to be a consensus based on rumour that it was suicide. And we have absolutely no idea why she might have done it, assuming for the moment it was suicide. Everyone’s life is a complex web of roles and pressures, and those on the outside of a given life see only small parts of it. Some parts of Ms Fagan’s life were public, and some were private – none of us really knows where the most pressure or sadness might have come from or how the different elements might have interacted.

The ultimate lesson is probably a simple one about decency and concern for others. Unless we know better, or unless we really must do or say something, it is wisest to assume that what we say may be the straw that will break the back of even the strongest camel and to weigh our words and actions carefully.

If you Google ‘school bullying policies’ or ‘workplace bullying policies’ you get a over a million references for each


Argument over, you lose.

I have not been on the website for a couple of days so I have just caught up with some of the reaction to my last posting. My responses are:

Thank you Hasdrubahl and Cameron: Yes, I was trying to maintain some sanity in the thread. As a newcomer to RiotACT I was also hoping to find some considered discussion of local events.
Sultain of swing: Wrong! I’m not Jeff Kennett. I’m a 60yo female who has lived in Canberra for close to 40 years. I never met Audrey Fagan.
Re your other comment that “He may have wished to publicly bash her in the media or had a personal reason to attack her and hurt her. But doubt even he could have foreseen such a sad outcome”. As I comment below, the effects of bullying can be devastating. To “bash”, “attack” and “hurt” would reasonably be construed as bullying rather than as constructive comment or critical assessment.
terry…wrist: I guess that a career as a pen-pusher in the Commonwealth Public Service can leave one sounding a bit formal at times! Also, I like to inform myself or double check my facts so going to beyondblue seemed like a good start. Like others in this thread I also wanted to maintain a level of civility and informed comment.
VicePope: I pretty much agree with what you have written. As I said previously, I have not read Jack Waterford’s articles criticizing the AFP but I did read his “Audrey Fagan: a private death, a public tragedy” published on 22 April 2006 immediately following her death. I felt that it must have been one of the more difficult articles for him to write and he made some positive comments about Audrey Fagan. However, he may have been better advised to have left out his last three paragraphs as they smacked of too much self-justification.
johnboy You wrote:
“It would be ridiculous to end up in a situation where no criticism can be made of public policy for fear officials will take it to heart and do something drastic”.
I agree. However, much of what is offered up in the media as analysis, critical assessment or calls for accountability, amounts to little more than personal vilification, bullying tactics and ad hominem comments.
Let’s switch from the focus on depression and look instead at bullying which is more familiar territory for most people. School bullying can be so devastating that its psychological effects will last for a lifetime. Workplace bullying can be similarly devastating. No matter whether it’s a case of subordinates bullying their supervisors or vice-versa the targeted person will almost certainly develop some symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression. Their recovery will depend on the level of understanding and support that they receive and the assurance that bullying is regarded as unacceptable behaviour.
Many victims of sustained bullying turn to violence against their bully or against persons or institutions that they hold responsible for not stopping the bullying. The US school shootings are the prime example here. Others will turn to self-harm, including suicide.
If you Google ‘school bullying policies’ or ‘workplace bullying policies’ you get a over a million references for each. Some, of course, will be ill-informed comment but others detail the level of bullying and its great human and economic costs along with programs to address the problem.

I’m agreeing with Onlooker, and it’s the reason I wrote as I did before. When one is depressed (assuming this was suicide, which I don’t know for sure), anything adverse can seem catastrophic. That includes criticism, feelings of having caused disappointment and perceived snubs.

We don’t know any of the details or the reasons, and it’s pretty silly to speculate before any reliable information comes out, if it ever does. I’m not bothered about whether it does or not. I have looked the big black dog in the eye for most of my life, and like it not at all.

On the other hand, I put myself solidly in the anti-Waterford camp. Whether or not he has this blood on his hands, I consider his past actions and attitudes are those of a small-town bully who wants to get his way, and who can sometimes fail to see that his professional interest and the public’s may be different. It’s a judgment call, but I’d understand it if the AFP and other agencies cut him off the drip.

Special G, that’d be a river in Egypt I’d suggest.

I did say Onlooker made some good points. I agree, he does bring some sanity and logical thought to the thread. My comments were not intended as a put down.

I was just amused by how official he sounded, almost like he represented BeyondBlue.

To Onlooker: sorry for any offence.

Bigred, denial about what? You are going to have to fill me in on that one as I have no idea what you are talking about.

Jeff Kennett or not, at least Onlooker brings some sanity to the thread.

sultain of swing4:34 am 25 Apr 07

I have a feeling that Onlooker is none other than Beyond Blue Patron Jeff Kennett.

But he/she makes a good point. I doubt any of us really understand depression. Each one of us has a different psychological make up. For Audrey Fagan, perhaps she developed a heightened sensitivity to crtisism, one that was finally enough to drive her to suicide. I don’t think such sensitivity with such acute consequences would exist in many people. Therefore, I maintain that whether right or wrong, Waterford should not be blamed for Fagan’s suicide. He may have wished to publicly bash her in the media or had a personal reason to attack her and hurt her. But doubt even he could have foreseen such a sad outcome.

There has been a disappointing amount of judgmental and bigoted nonsense posted here following the tragic death of Audrey Fagan. Some attempt to better understand the nature of depression would be one positive response to this tragedy. Many of us will experience depression either personally or because a family member or friend will develop it. The beyondblue website http://www.beyondblue.org.au/ contains some personal stories from people who have experienced depression and made suicide attempts. It also has some good stuff on recognizing symptoms and on caring for people with depression.

There has been much discussion about the rights and wrongs of the criticisms of the ACT Police by Jack Waterford in the Canberra Times. I note on the beyondblue website that one of the common symptoms, as opposed to causes, of depression, is an increased sensitivity to criticism.

The point is well made that it is Governments and not Public Servants who should be held publicly accountable. I can’t comment specifically on the tenor of Jack Waterford’s calls for greater accountability in the AFP as I gave up reading the Canberra Times a long time ago but in general, much of what passes as political comment or critical assessment degenerates into personal attacks and we are all the poorer for that.

terry-wrist, I doubt it was a terminal illness but was illustrating the point that we should not speculate about the causes, we just don’t know nor never really will I suspect. Not sure we need to either.

Special G your comments are typical of someone in denial. Suggest you try to introduce some balance to your thoughts on this.

bigred: if it were a terminal illness, then that’s euthanasia… not suicide. And she did not seem to be at a point where she would choose euthanasia. If I were diagnosed with a terminal illness, I would resign my job and spend every possible minute enjoying my final weeks. I would not hang my self and cause a whole heap of pain for my family.

I do agree with you other points however.

Tagline : I knew Audrey on quite a personal level as i was her hairdresser for many years Comment by Boeb2007 — April, 2007

Where did you get the idea that there was SIGNIFICANT diquiet within the community. It was discussed earlier about attitude towards Police surveys and from my understanding the ACT public is rather happy with the AFP. Above the national average. I would not call that significant disquiet.

What you’re spouting is the media’s (read Waterford)disquiet with the Police. This has been brought about by breach of confidance, privacy laws and the like. Gone are the days when the journos can waltz into any station and read the daily jobs. Sorry the world just doesn’t work like that anymore.

I knew Audrey on quite a personal level as i was her hairdresser for many years. She was a beautiful person with a lovely manner and a gentle soul and she will be deeply missed. Her commitment to the people of the ACT should be remembered and embraced and she should not be rememeber for the way in which she left us.. Good people die everyday and the world will be a sader place with the loss of Audrey. May she rest in peace and may her family find closure and peace as time goes by.

In terms of Policing in the ACT, yes they are under resourced, yes they don’t get enough support, yes they don’t have the number of people to do the job properly. However My problem is that when people complain about the Police they complain in general. Thats not fair. There are a lot of hard working cops out there just doing their job, like anyone else. They don’t deserve to be treated the way they do, however generalisation is a bitch. Rather than bag the Police in general, how about people complain where the problem is, ie management, government funding etc etc. The poor guys who constantly have their arses hanging out with paperwork don’t deserve the public disaproval of them. I say support the guys on the ground and address the issues to those it involves.

I think Johnboy has provided fair and balanced comment in this thread and I don’t agree with the criticism he has received from some contributors.

Audrey Fagan was a terrific person and her death came as a great shock to those close to her. There was no sign of a problem at a BBQ she and her family attended at close friend’s house on the Easter Monday before her holiday. Her death seemed entirely out of character and her friends still cannot believe what has happened.

It just goes to show that we need to be aware that this can happen at any time to one of our close friends without any particular warning signs.

I do not feel that Jack Waterford’s articles were the cause of the tragedy, although I don’t think it was appropriate for him to have said some things, particularly after Audrey’s death. He took the same defensive stance he accused the police media of.

My gut feeling is that the CPO succumbed to a number of issues of which the “bully-boy culture” within the police force was one. This culture (which we have seen some evidence of on this website in the orange light issue) was one of the things she was trying to change. She obviously needed more support in achieving this.

But years of exposure to the crims, the mentally ill, the ratbags and the idiots has so hardened many in the force that they seemed to have lost the ability to relate to the community in general. The term “community policing” was rapidly becoming an oxymoron. This, I feel, was what was driving Jack Waterford’s articles.

I am extremely saddened by Audrey Fagan’s passing. She had much to contribute to family, friends and the community in general and her death is such a waste. The task now is for her friends to rally around her family.

Audrey Fagan is dead and it seems she took her own life. A human mind is a cxomplex thing and the decision to take such a dramatic step my have been triggered by a single event or a combination of circumstances. Who knows what triggered it. Maybe she had just been told she had a terminal illness or that hubby wanted to trade her in on a younger model. Maybe Keelty had told her she was to be replaced. Maybe there was further bad news coming. Maybe it was that the whole lot was too much. Maybe …!

As far as Jack Waterford’s reporting goes. What is the problem with the senior journo at the local rag asking some serious questions of an organisation that has created significant disquiet amongst the community it is meant to serve?

If the demise of the CPO was caused by the pressure that is a tragedy. But don’t blame community questioning for the incident. After all, when this is all forgotten the AFP will continue to provide its variable service levels and the people will continue to be disappointed.

Special G: That is too general. He can say both. When he calls the AFP corrupt, he is referring to certain elements within the AFP, just as when he compliments them. They can theoretically be corrupt and do a great job at the same time.

When you say that he should have some consistency in his views. Are you saying he should either call the AFP Corrupt incompetents or a perfect force. I doesn’t work like that. We may want the latter, but it is possible to be both.

With regards to the implications of her suicide. Her committing suicide does not imply in itself corruption, incompetence, mismanagement or psych problems. But I do think that when you look at Audrey Fagan, a seemingly strong and dedicated woman. On e or more of those things must have being a factor in tipping her over the edge. I strongly doubt corruption.

Whatever the reason though, I too believe their is no justification for suicide.

The supporting arguement to my comments about Waterfords comments are published by him. One minute he is saying the Police are doing a great job the next they are corrupt.

Under funding and resources are designated by the ACT government funding to purchase Policing in the ACT. I spoke with a number of politicians about Police numbers prior to the last election. Both sides were spouting an additional 120-150 police to bring ACT at least up to the national average. Several weeks after the election the ACT scores itself an extra 20. He can comment on what he sees. Some consistency with his views would be better,

I agree with Ingeegoodbee about suicide. There is no justification for it. In relation to Audrey Fagan it is sad that she felt that it was her only option rather than quit the job and do anything else with herself.

One persons decision to end their own life doesn’t imply mismanagement, corruption or psych problems across the police force.

Special G: anyone who comes on here and without any supporting comments or evidence, calls Jack Waterford an arse is more a troll than I am.

DJ: I know I should go a bit more easy on the Police and not tell them how to do there jobs. But when I have seen what I have seen and had to put up with ineffective policing on so many occasions, I feel as a tax payer I have some rights to put in my two cents. I don’t think their purely lazy. They are mismanaged, under funded and under resourced. They deserve more.

Oh an Special G: lay off Jack Waterford. I don’t much like him, but fairs fair. He was just doing his job, commenting on what he sore as wrong with the AFP. Maybe he was too harsh? But look at former NSW Police Commissioner Ryan. He copped much more flak than Audrey Fagan ever did and he didn’t commit suicide.

Only need to do a rudimentary internet troll to find out that there was an investigation into improper conduct involving builders and cheap rates only just completed recently.

Keelty might want to reconsider his own involvement in the ensuing events.

“do I hear calls to cut journalistic freedom”…

No. But don’t let the truth get in the way of Jacks lies and deceitful stories. Integrity…. ever heard of it? The other journos at CT must be shuddering.

Hey Terry, lighten up on the wrist or you’ll go blind. Don’t tell the Police how to do their jobs – do they come into your workplace and tell you how to sweep up?

Ingeegoodbee6:42 pm 23 Apr 07

Forget trying to figure out why she did it – it’s pointless. Suicide is an inherrantly selfish act, wasting time speculating about it simply implies there could be a justification, there isn’t, forget her.

Who is Terry_wrist – where the hell did you come from spoutnig attitude. You are coming off like a troll.

JB – You seem to have a bit of an axe to grind on this one. You’re spouting about corruption, moral, and extensive psych problems throughout ACT police with not alot of backing to your arguement. You will need to come up with better than that.

Jack Waterfords an arse. He does more backflips than a chinese acrobat and throws more tantrums than a 2 year old when he doesn’t get what he wants.

I think on the list of contributing factors that may have pushed Audrey Fagan to take her own life. The media would be in the middle. Let us not forget that she was a cop for some 25 years. Over that time, a person experience a lot and she shouldn’t have been new to the often sour words of the media.

No, the media is not to blame, certainly not the media alone. Jack Waterford… bit of a dweeb yes… but not a cause to kill your self.

I think internal pressure (KEELTY!!!) is to blame. Keelty is a cold character. Given the chance, he probably would’ve packed the rope and gallows himself.

Oh, and someone said Fagan was a “pen pusher”. No way. She was far from it. A pen pusher is a lazy and ineffective administrator. Fagan was ineffective, but I truly believe she was doing her best. But as a manager, her best was not good enough.

by the way, there were press releases out at the time of the rapes in lyneham and macquarie…of course, i’m not sure it (the media) would’ve been the cause for suicide, but wouldn’t have helped.

JamesM: if the police were more open, people wouldn’t always assume that an “indecent assault” is really police talk for rape. They really would believe it was just an assault. But the AFP mutilate stories so much to downplay them and not “scare the public” that may always think the smaller offense is just covering a bigger offence.

vandam: it was an estimate. To be sure, it was over 80, and I think it was certainly over 100. You can make educated guesses about such things. And my educated guess is that it was 120. I was standing still and it went past in a split second before suddenly slowing to 40 in a school zone. If they were in a real hurry, they could’ve gong right and not through the school zone. Then they could’ve kept a high speed and go largely the same way. Instead, the went through the school zone at 40 and did not speed up again.
They were just hooning, they weren’t in a real hurry. Or maybe they just had to get to Maccas before 10:30:)

I would have though after Clea Rose, it would be more important to use sirens and warn people of a high speed police vehicle rather than going silent and running someone down, especially near two schools!!! Besides, you hear sirens in Narrabundah and Griffith so often, the burglars wouldn’t care. There usually out in 5 minutes anyway!

You pass the test… The mental fortitude test…

There’s a job going if you ever want to do 15-20 years in the force prerequisite training…

Or going for a swim with truck battery floaties 😛

Wouldn’t want to give the buggers the satisfaction.

JB, you’ve copped a bit of flack in your time, have you considered long walks off short cliffs ?

Slinky the Shocker3:17 pm 23 Apr 07

I’m sorry to hear about the suicide, too, but do I hear calls to cut journalistic freedom?

If this happened to other public figures, would johnboy be responsible for John Stanhope? Mike Carlton for John Howard? Piers Suckerman for Kevin Rudd?

Apart from the fact that a lot of it is justified, my experience with the Canberra Cops was disastrous. 3 crimes against us within 3 years (assault, burglary, car break-in) and no one ever gave a shit.

In regards to the “Rape in Narrabundah” which Jack W used in his latest tirade against the AFP. It wasn’t quite as newsworthy as he made it out to be. The victim was walking in Griffith when an older male came up behind her and placed his arms around her. When she turned around, he left. Hardly the “Rape” or “Vicious Sexual Assault” reported in the CT over the next few days. No wonder the police media unit could find no mention of a “Rape in Narrabundah” when contacted by the CT. Still, good enough for Jack to get stuck into his favourite subject – and we all know how it ends – don’t we Jack?

On another note, 120Kph in a 60 Zone??? how does one measure this? and secondly, they may be responding to a job, you never know. They could be responding to a burgler or a theif. If there is no need for them to be on then why have them on, it’s only going to let the offenders know Police are on their way and to get the hell out of there.

I hardly think that is corruption.

There’s a good reason why the AFP Media unit may withhold information. That is it may stuff up current investigations, that they know the media is going to twist it to make the cops look bad and lastly, its only going to make the CT money. Personally they are a piss poor paper. People should think about working as a cop. They don’t just issue tickets, they deal with the scum of the earth (some of which make it on this website), they deal with dirty needles, crashes, people with diseases. I think even a garbo has a cleaner job.
Fagan deserves nothing but praise, she made it through the ranks, during times when it was hard to be female, and made it into the top position. Maybe she couldn’t handle it, but no person no matter what job they work, deserves to placed under as much pressure as she was.

Sammy, on David Eastman, when I first head about this I wondered the same thing 🙂

johnboy – “Your attitude makes up most of the rest”. Do mean that by asking you to back up your claim of corruption I have got some kind of attitude? Not once have I stated the ACT Police doesn’t have problems, only that we shouldn’t assume corruption is one of them.
Why not ask your mate nick_the_pig? He’d be in a position to explain some things.
All I’m seeing here so far is a lot of people speculating on something they know nothing about. I too know nothing of the CPOs circumstances, but I certainly don’t go and make comments that at the end of the day are baseless. I guess that’s what this website is about though.

Its been hinted at, but I’ll say it.

Rogue commentary from a 2 bit hack journo isn’t really solid reason to top ones self, no matter how fragile their mental state.

Lets make the presumption that in order to attain the rank of chief police officer, she’s displayed her mental wherewithal on many occasions. Its not a job given for time in the force.

I think there’s something about to be announced, that is not very pleasant about Ms Fagan. Perhaps it may not even make news, due to her suicide, but there’s something missing. Call it an investigative hunch.

Ding ding ding!

I was shocked and saddened. I came across her in my work too, but never actually had that much to do with her. Utmost respect. I was dismayed at Jack Waterford’s words. What the AFP was accused of wasn’t much at all, considering. Why should the police release IMMEDIATELY details about rapists etc when they don’t have much to release anyway plus there’s societal panic. And the AFP contractor – so what – yeah yeah, i k now, i’ll get critcised for that one, and i understand why, but really, so what? She was an awesome person and it’s even sadder because she seemed so tough and able – if it is suicide, if that kind of person can’t take the pressure, then what hope is there for the rest of us?

The ‘take home’ message from this is that people (including RA contributors) always need to remember that there is a real person at the receiving end of their criticisms. And real people sometimes break.

Even is this most serious of threads, we can see examples of such callous disregard.

Unless you have been in a high-profile public role, and experienced this sort of thing aimed at yourself, you really have no idea what it can be like.

You think that just because a person gets to a high-profile position, they develop an impervious psyche?

On the contrary, people get to high positions usually because they are passionate about what they are doing (whether or not you might agree with their positions on things). And in being passionate, they are also often MORE prone to feel the impacts of personal criticism.

If your argument can’t be mounted without attacking the person, then your argument doesn’t stand up.
So play the ball, not the man.

And it got worse aftyer Sandy left.

My own experience with the media unit (back when Sandy Logan was running it) is that they’re incredibly controlling and downright intimidatory.

Last week on 666 they interviewed CPO Fagan. The host, Alex Sloan, commented that the AFP media unit would only allow CPO Fagan to speak on radio if they didn’t invite Waterford along. There is something wrong there.

Its been hinted at, but I’ll say it.

Rogue commentary from a 2 bit hack journo isn’t really solid reason to top ones self, no matter how fragile their mental state.

Lets make the presumption that in order to attain the rank of chief police officer, she’s displayed her mental wherewithal on many occasions. Its not a job given for time in the force.

I think there’s something about to be announced, that is not very pleasant about Ms Fagan. Perhaps it may not even make news, due to her suicide, but there’s something missing. Call it an investigative hunch.

“a dead CPO is a pretty extreme symptom.”

Exactly there is obviously some thing seriously wrong with the culture of this police force. I would say a major inquiry of some type or another is required here. The ACT is not immune to the type of culture and corruption that has plagued other states so who knows whats been going on behind the scenes.

Now that’s in poor taste

Ingeegoodbee she did not top herself, she put her neck on the line.

RM, a dead CPO is a pretty extreme symptom.

Your attitude makes up most of the rest.

Ingeegoodbee7:14 am 23 Apr 07

Suicide is the most honest for of self critisism, end of story. I don’t care how good a job she did, I have no time for someone who tops themself.

Why should public have to know what’s going on?

What socialist state do you hail from VanDam, thankyou mam?

Is the kid up the road is being raped by who knows what in narrabundah, I sure as hell would want to know to ensure the safety of my my child walking the streets.

finally, please disregard my frequent use of write instead of right. I mean right in my posts.

P.S: by incompetence all the way to the top, I again reiterate that while I think Ms Fagan was great as a “front line” officer and was a nice person, I do not think she was write for an management position. I do not believe she was incompetent or lazy, just misuited to the job which affected her success in the position of CPO.

P.S: by incompetence all the way to the top, I again reiterate that while I think Ms Fagan was great as a “front line” officer and was a nice person, I do not think she was write for an management position.

Sorry, I still meant to make a point. All those example; Police speeding for no reason, drinking on duty next to a cop car that should have been catching drink drivers, not transporting them and the idiot on the phone who wants me to beat up a burglar my self because the patrol car is at King O Malleys all point to one thing.

While the AFP may not be corrupt in the ACT, the force is certainly rife with mis management, underfunding and incompetence, from the civilians in the call center all the way to the top.

Let’s see, there were the crazy police officers in a sedan going at around 120 in a 60 zone approaching a school without their sirens (they did slowdown when they got to the 40 zone). Then there was the police officers who in their uniforms standing next to their parked AFP sedans were drinking cans of beer on the footpath in front of someones house. They were likely on duty. My neighbors alarm went off, when I called the police (131 444) and they suggested I go around there with a BASEBALL BAT!

This all occurred since Ms Fagan took charge, in fact, it all happened in the last year and a half. Under her command, ACT Policing has declined into a poor state with rising crime and poor communication.

Oh and fhakk, the “Narrabundah Rape” was a serious incident with major implications for public safety in the area. With two schools very close to where the attack took place, the AFP had a duty to at least say that an attack occurred and that people should take extra care. No details yet, but the day after it was reported to them was when they had to say. And they could. In the days after the attack, the easily posted a media release warning people in Kingston to take care after a laptop was stolen. It should not have been left to student of N.C. to contact the media. My God! It was not simply a release of tension, it was a huge wake up call for the AFP to get their act together for the safety of the public.

I believe Audrey Fagan was a very dedicated police officer and a genuinely nice person. But no one can deny that as good a person and officer as she was, she was the wrong person for such a tough administrative position. But the blame CAN NOT be placed solely on her. The senior management of ACT Policing is obviously lacking.

Delfichael – that isn’t her husband.

Firstly, I know Jack Waterford has it in for certain people within the AFP. From my perspective, an element of personality has certainly crept in to his argument. In terms of corruption, we’ll soon see with that ombudsman’s report next week. Plus there was an internal review of media operations, as per today’s CT. What’s being highlighted atm is the media’s relationship with the police, and while it’s improved over the past few years, there are still problems to iron out. My personal experiences with ACT policing media have been great on the whole, others don’t share that view. But has anyone noticed that while the SMH and the Tele have been speculating how she died, the local media outlets have been restraining themselves. We knew how she died on the night that it happened, but I know for my part we didn’t run that information because of her family, and because of our relationship with the AFP. While the words No Suspicious Circumstances may sound like spin, it keeps us out of trouble. As for the Narrabundah Rape, that was the release of tension between the AFP and the media, and a unique case, given that some parts of the community were warned and others missed out. Fagan’s death is indicative of a hell of a lot of problems within the AFP, and finger-pointing is unfortunately not going to solve anytime soon. And finally, Audrey Fagan was a fantastic cop to deal with and, irrespective of her professional capacity, was a lovely woman who we’ll miss.

What ‘symptoms’ of ‘extreme sickness’ are you talking about? Is it based on what Waterford has written, or do you have some inside knowledge? Please let us know…
You keep refering to corruption, something which shouldn’t be taken lightly, nor spoken about without some basis.
That’s all I’m asking – what makes you think the ACT police are corrupt?
And this time, make it more than something like ‘Fagan killed herself, therefore there is corruption’. Problems maybe, but why assume corruption?

What was her husband’s name, does anyone know? I just wonder if that’s Richard Fagan, who teaches krav maga out at Weston…

Wow it’s like an omnibus edition of corrupt policing excuses.

I don’t *know* anything.

But there are some serious symptoms of extreme sickness and people who deny sickness are, more often than not, carriers.

Geez johnboy, do really think that the question asker is the most important person in all this? Your last comment would indicate so. If you do believe this, then we have very different ideas.
There is probably a multitude of reasons why the police don’t release information – including the obvious one that they have responsibilities not just to the public, but more importantly to the victims and families etc. It’s just that Waterford seems to have a hissy fit any time this happens.
No one is saying there are no problems in the ACT Police. However, corruption is not the only problem that can evolve within a police force. Saying that the suicide of CPO Fagan is related to corruption issues within the ACT police is baseless and pure speculation.
If you’ve got evidence of corruption, then spill it. Otherwise, your comments don’t do you any credit.

The CPO is dead, so obviously there are no problems.

It’s just us pathetic excuses for human beings who ask questions and expect transparency causing trouble because we’re scum.

Oh yeah.

I remember at the press conference held by CPO Fagan in regards to the Amber Westin incident – other Canberra Times journalists present were clearly embarrased by Waterford and his carry on. It appears that Wateford has become as unaccountable as he suggests the AFP is.
I too remember the write-up not long where he suggested the AFP was corrupt – if this is true then it is a concern. However, he presented no evidence to back up his assertions. If he wishes to have some credibiliy, he needs to be able to produce the goods.
In any case, no one can really say what factors led to CPO Fagan to take her own life. Waterord’s critisisms may have been a factor, but probably only one of many.

Why should public have to know what’s going on? Sure if there is a big crime problem in a certain area sure, media should be notified. But why should there be a need for everyone to be told about a sexual assault in Narrabundah or a Armed robbery at McDonalds. DOES THE VICTIM DESERVE TO BE TREATED AS SOME FRONT PAGE MONEY MAKING STORY ON THE FRONT OF THE CANBERRA TIMES?????????? If you answer yes to that question, go and get raped, have a gun to your head, get bashed and then answer the question again. You all have brains – USE THEM!

Johnboy, sometimes I wonder whether you are infact Jack Waterford. Both you and him are a pathetic excuse for a human being. There is no doubt that Waterfords comments had put some extreme pressure on Fagan. What ever your problem with cops is, and it is clear you have a problem, give it a rest and show some sympathy for Fagan and the Police force for once. This is clearly going to be a hard time for everyone that works for her and knows her. Obviously no one appreciates the work Fagan does or her collegues do until they are in that position, yet everyone is happy to bag them to the point they feel there is no way out. So show some respect.
I respect all those people who have showed sympathy towards Fagan, her family and the Police force. I pass on my sympathy to her family and friends. She is a great person and deserves nothing but praise.

Jack Waterford (COTY) is right.
I used to love the little news wraps by Sandy Logan. Pro active policing. It might not have helped to clear-up crime rates but it looked like something was being done. 10/10.

Then Sandy left and Audrey came in and the coppers clammed-up citing personal privacy or some other crap. Plueeze. 2/10

I place the blame at Audrey’s hands including her suicide. But I am mourning her loss.

Why should Jack have to come on this site? He has a legitimate news organ to explain himself with to his hearts content, should he so choose.

Yes, it’s a different type of news organ to Riotact, but it’s a legitimate one all the same. Just happens to be one that has slightly more editing than JB’s “As long as it’s mildly interesting, Canberra related and it won’t get us sued” standard.

Yeah, because the sudden death of the CPO is a sure sign there’s no corruption problem.

Jack Waterford needs to get onto this site and explain himself. He has waged a vendetta against decent people doing a very difficult job. He pines for the days when he could saunter into City Police Station, read the police blotter, and write to his heart’s content.

Because we’re all now in the 21st century (you too Jack), with privacy concerns, with technology including digital comms, with some nasty, nasty crims out there doing some horrid things, info from the coppers is not as easy to secure as it once was.

Peter Clack, Ben Doherty, David McLennan, David Seale and Peter Brewer (not all of whom still work as police reporters at the Canberra Times) all knew how to cultivate contacts, exchange information, and get the story as journalists. They knew what “police rounds” meant. They didn’t have access to a bottle of red wine by lunchtime every day and a daily 1500 word-hole to fill with any piss-weak complaint about “not getting the story from the police”, like some we know.

It’s about bloody time people said what needs to be said about this terrible and avoidable tragedy. Jack Waterford damned Audrey Fagan a week and a half ago, and nailed her to his mast so to speak. He hinted at internal investigations and opined the local coppers were venturing on being “corrupt”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing could have been more hurtful and offensive to the Chief Police Officer and/or her 800 staff.

Maybe now the Canberra Times will pull in its collective head and develop relationships with those whose business they seek to report; not sycophantic relationships, but professional, mutually beneficial and productive working associations such as those some of the oldtimers in the past have been able to develop, and from which those covering City Hall, the arts, sport and local business seem to benefit to this day.

Jack Waterford: you don’t know jack. Hand in your AJA card immediately. You’re an embarrassment to the proud and decent profession of journalism.

I hardly think Waterford is to blame.

His commentary on 666 indicated some serious problems with the AFP, particularly in the media unit.

My sympathy to the family.

Something is terribly wrong when a woman close to the peak of her career, and with a teenage daughter needing guidance takes such a course of action. I hope we can, as a community, leave the family alone.

As far as the AFP goes, if it has a culture that contributes to someone so senior in their organisation being so isolated and unsupported, it is time for some internal soul searching to ensure the likelihood of another such incident is minimal.

I have a lot of sympathy for Jack Waterford’s position. He was stating a view shared by a lot of other Canberrans.

Stress and it’s usual corollary, depression, are a serious illness. It appears that the professional counselling that CPO Fagan was receiving was a case of too little and too late. It can be lonely at the top and difficult to judge when you yourself need the sort of support that you give to others.

I hope that Canberrans can accord CPO Fagan’s family the privacy and support that they will need in coming to grips with this tragedy for our whole community.

Although I suspected suicide from the start (and for her family, hoped it wasn’t), I was none the less shocked to hear hanging was the method used. It is such a traumatic way for the person committing suicide, the person(s) who finds them and for the family.

And yet in the US and Canada, hanging is the second most common cause with 20% of cases in the US a result of hanging. In the UK, it is the most common.

In a era where one can pick up any number of pills to take and “peacefully fall asleep” as one website put it, I can not fathom why anyone would choose such a painful and traumatic method. I think it really shows how sad, depressed and perhaps trapped she may have felt.

I can only feel sad that her family will have to endure hearing that she was the ACT Police Chief who committed suicide when things got tough rather than the Police Chief who knew when she could do know more and for the community and her family, resigned. I know I would prefer the latter.

I have to say I’ve got some sympathy for Waterford.

It would be ridiculous to end up in a situation where no criticism can be made of public policy for fear officials will take it to heart and do something drastic.

auntiesocial, people who commit suicide aren’t in a mental place where any of that matters. They get to a point where it seems like the only option – something that any rational and mentally fit person considers ridiculous.

Of course pity the family – but they (and I know members of her extended family) are smart enough to realise that Mrs Fagan’s suicide was not a selfish abandonment of a family, but a tragic decision made by a person who truly believed (incorrectly) that there was no other option.

My step-brother commited suicide via the same method, and did so completely out of the blue. Not a hint. What often leads to the “no other option” scenario is that the person is often too ashamed to admit they’re having a problem and thus don’t seek help for it until it is too late.

I imagine that resigning or stepping down was, in Mrs Fagan’s mind, an admission of a problem she felt too ashamed to reveal.

Waterford wrote four sentences demonstrating a degree of sympathy and compassion, then showed his true colours with a barely veiled attempt to cover his arse, which was totally uncalled for. Wanker!!!

Deadmandrinking3:13 pm 22 Apr 07

Poor woman.

auntiesocial2:47 pm 22 Apr 07

Resigning or stepping down from the (high stress) position not an option?

No, took the easy way out for her and the hardest way for her family.

Pity the family.

It really is a problem in our society when people take there jobs just to seriously. At the end of the day the only reason we work is to bring home the money so we can live and enjoy our time here.

Ive been working for American corporations now for some time and the same culture exists where the employees are always told they are the company’s greatest asset but were still treated like machines just existing to uphold the company line and share price. And people are caught up in all this bullshit and step on each others toes to get to the top. We really need to just lighten up I think and relax. Anyway thats just my 2 cents worth.

This is so sad. She was a great role model. Condolences to the family and the force.

swamiOFswank10:16 am 22 Apr 07

Ditto, lateralis and Tool. What a terrible way to go, and what a terrible place in life to have to come to; imagine feeling like hanging yourself was your only option. Thoughts go out to her husband and child.

Rest in Peace, you will be missed.

To all those police-haters on the site, spend a moment thinking what their job must be like, dealing with violence and negativity all day. No wonder the top cop would be under the pump.
What a terrible way to kill yourself though, I hope her child wasn’t there.
She could easily have hitched a ride with those 3 sailors out of Airlie beach last week, would have been much tidier.

I have confirmation from the Sydney Morning Herald. A source at the resort said she was found hanging in her room.

Link to story (copy and paste into browser): http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/act-police-chief-found-hanged-on-holiday-island/2007/04/21/1176697161151.html

I guess to many this is not surprising given the stress she was under. I would not at all be surprised if pressure behind the scenes also contributed to it, although not for a second do I believe any person(s) responsible for such pressure could have foreseen such a sad and tragic outcome.

Like so many others on RiotACT and in the community, my thoughts go to her family, friends and colleagues.

Reports on Sky News just now are saying she was found hanged in her room. Very sad for her family and colleagues in the AFP.

I get the point you’re trying to make VicePope, but she was a high-profile person (working in Law-Enforcement no less) in Canberra who has just died young – thus the story is considered ‘newsworthy’ to the public – I do agree that speculation is pointless and insensitive though.

My thoughts go out to her family, loved ones and also her AFP colleagues (some of whom are still possibly dealing with the loss of two other workmates in the Indonesian plane crash last month.)

i agree, she’s a wonderful person, she came to my school last year one time, to talk to us, and she was so down to earth.

I am deeply shocked. She was a terrific person who was easy to talk to, considerate, intelligent and down to earth. Her daughter (from a previous marriage) is the same age as my own child (15) and I really feel for her and her father. She also has two step-children who need to be considered. I hope people keep this in mind when posting comments.

What no tribute from Jack Waterford?

Odds are that its a suicide which isn’t that uncommon among the Police force compared to other professions. One has to wonder why and whether any internal conflicts in the Police force contributed.

I liked her little columns in The Chronicle. This made me a bit sad.
Blame QLD! Stoopid QLD!

What are the odds?

Think about it.

And then, yes, we’ll all have to wait to see what we shall see.

I would however note that the Qld police don’t find a problem with deaths in custody not because they are lax in their inquiries but because they are corrupt.

I agree with Hasdrubahl that the QPol inquiries will probably be a bit more thorough this time. What ocurred previously was terrible.
But, JohnBoy, I don’t think there’d be any public interest if the deceased was Marge Simpson from Kaleen. Ms Fagan may have died in some routine (but still tragic) way as people, even young and apparently fit people, sometimes do. Unless someone has some hard information that suggests that her death was in some way linked with her public role, rather than unsupported speculation, it’s decent to keep out of the story as we would with any other person. There are enough in the gutter (eg the Terror) already.

They’ll probably be more diligent with “proper enquiries” in this case, than they are with Aborigines in police cells.
-Sad to say.

I’m sorry VicePope, I’m going to have to disagree with you here.

When a 44 year old woman in Ms. Fagan’s position dies a “sudden death” the questions it raises go well beyond the “proper inquiries” of the Queensland constabulary. In my opinion.

I met Audrey once, not that long ago. She seemed like a really nice person – very genuine, and zero pretense. I was quite shocked to read in the CT this morning that she’d died, as she appeared young and fit and healthy. My condolences to her family, friends and staff, who are no doubt feeling devastated this morning.

This is just sad. She seemed a good and decent person, doing a difficult job. She left a husband and children who are no doubt devastated. Can’t we just say that any death of someone, relatively young, doing their best and likely to be grieved is a tragedy? Speculation on how it happened is pointless without information, and leads inevitably to speculation on why, and neither is at all helpful for her family, friends and colleagues.

Please leave this story alone, unless proper inquiries by Qld police reveal that there is something of public interest in it. Otherwise it’s a gratuitous interference in privacy and grief.

(ps – I may have come across her in my work or generally while living here at some stage but I am not a family member, friend or AFP member).

sammy by “typical style” i assume you mean word for ******* word, including any English errors

The Canberra Times website will pick it up tomorrow, in typical style.

David Eastman wasn’t in the area, was he?

How many days before it rates a mention on the Canberra Times website?

NTP; That’s what I was trying to get across.

That sucks, who will write the little community messsages in the Chronicle now:(

Although all mainstream media are reading from the same press release in saying “Queensland police are investigating but believe there are no suspicious circumstances” the Daily Terror has added the additional proviso stating “They are considering the possibility of suicide.”

The following days will be interesting.


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