Inspector Keith Price is less than a month into the job as the new officer-in-charge at Queanbeyan Police Station, but has hit the ground running.
Queanbeyan’s newest cop on the beat is wrapping up an investigation into stolen property north of the ACT where a team effort during a number of days resulted in two adults and a juvenile being arrested.
After a 30-year career in policing that spans highway patrol and criminal investigations in places such as Young, Newcastle and Goulburn, Insp Price has come to Queanbeyan on promotion and says finding a place to live will complete the move. It will also save him from the daily commute from Goulburn.
“I love the area and I’m very familiar with it, but I just need to find a place to live,” says the married father of four girls, adding that he only needs a house for himself and his wife, ahead of also getting to know the locals and the priorities of policing in the area.
Insp Price is in charge of 45 officers at the Queanbeyan station who patrol an area encompassing Michelago, Jerrabomberra, Sutton and Carwoola.
Leading his charges, Insp Price says he’ll address the issues facing the area’s youth among the usual gamut of crime involving assaults and domestic violence.
“I’ve had a lot of influential people I’ve worked with and a lot of great leaders over the years, so I’ll be looking to carry that influence into the way I lead the team here,” he tells Region Media.
“I’ll be putting my focus into the team here first. One of the biggest bits of advice I’ve taken with me has come from Richard Branson who said if you get your people right, everything else falls into place.
“The team here at Queanbeyan is really good. I’ve been so impressed with the work that’s come out of this place. Everyone here is really proactive which I think has driven the general levels of crime down, so I’ll be working hard to keep getting in the face of criminals and their activities.
“I’m talking with the OICs of every station in the southern region most days as what we do now is very collaborative and that can be seen by a number of investigations that cross multiple jurisdictions,” he said.
Insp Price has met with Queanbeyan-Palerang mayor Tim Overall and will also meet with his counterparts in the ACT to discuss issues and resources.
“One of the big issues is, of course, domestic violence and our team here is doing some great work to address that. There aren’t any major crime issues that we don’t see in any other places,” he said.
“I want to see our police involved in the community. I want to address the issues by getting into some of the youth programs such as the Rise Up program.
“But the big thing I want to see is to make sure the community has confidence in their police.
“You’re always going to have the small few who don’t see eye-to-eye with the police, but overall I think confidence in police is very good right across the board.”
Insp Price says he is very much looking forward to moving into the new station in Queanbeyan which is on track to open sometime next year, although no firm timeframe has been announced.
“The new facility will be fantastic, especially having everyone under the one roof and working together will only help with our team interactions here. In 30 years, it will be only the second brand new police station I’ve worked in,” he says.
A new house, new job and a new police station may also mean the new OIC on the beat won’t need a holiday anytime soon.