Constable Rohan Smith was awarded a 2011 ACT NAIDOC Award for positive contribution by a non-indigenous organisation or person to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community at the Canberra NAIDOC Ball and Awards dinner at the Tuggeranong Vikings Auditorium on Saturday night (July 2).
The award is in recognition of Constable Smith’s energy and effort in his former role as an Indigenous Community Liaison Officer (ICLO). He was instrumental in strengthening ACT Policing’s relationship with the indigenous community in the ACT.
This was no easy task for Constable Smith who met with much resistance from the Indigenous community when he started in the ICLO role. The role had previously been held by an unsworn Indigenous person and Constable Smith’s move as a sworn “white” male into the position initially was not well received by the community. However, his dedication and rapport with the community allowed him to break down many barriers, build relationships and be accepted by those who once doubted his ability to provide the community with an effective unbiased service.
Constable Smith was nominated for the award by the Aboriginal Justice Centre, Yurauna Centre at CIT Bruce Campus and the Gugan Guwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation in Wanniassa. Ironically, some of Constable Smith’s biggest critics have become his greatest supporters and it was these groups who nominated him for the award.