Meet proud Kamilaroi woman, loving dog mum and general duties officer, Constable Tamika Clarke.
She was born and raised on Dharawal Country on the South Coast of NSW and she and her family all place a strong value on connection to community and cultural identity.
“I come from a strong family of First Nations people who have passed down and instilled the importance of cultural identity and connection to community and country within me,” Constable Clarke said.
Constable Clarke has been in the Queensland Police Service for five years now after following the Indigenous Police Recruitment Our Way Delivery Program (IPROWD) pathway to join the QPS. All five years have been based in the Townsville Policing District and Constable Clarke says she loves the variety of opportunities she’s exposed to in her role.
“I love the variety of being a police officer,” she said.
“No two days are ever going to be the same and I find having the opportunity to change peoples’ perception of police super rewarding.”
Despite thoroughly enjoying her job so far, Constable Clarke has found that a lot of people haven’t always had the most positive views of the police and that the life experience, knowledge of culture and understanding she brings to her role can bring a lot to changing that for the better.
“Sometimes people haven’t got positive views of the police and you can change their perspectives on that,” Constable Clarke said.
“Being a First Nations woman myself, I do find that I have a better understanding of the issues that the indigenous people in our community face.
“If I can make people feel more comfortable about coming to police, particularly when they are in trouble or if they’ve been victims of crime, then that’s a good thing.”
When we asked her what ‘Heal Country’ meant to her, Constable Clarke said it was all about understanding.
“Being an active and accepted part of the Kamilaroi and Dharawal communities has played a large role in shaping the person I am today,” she said.
“To me, Heal Country means working together to grow knowledge, education and improve understanding of the importance of connection to land and country to First Nations people and the large role in which country has played for generations in traditions, lore, ceremony and survival.
“Encouraging understanding between everyone, no matter where they’re from can really go a long way.
“By working together to Heal Country, we can persevere and maintain sacred sites for our future generations.”
“My cultural identity has always been something that I have been proud of and I try to bring that into my role as a police officer,” she said.
“I am often approached by members of community and asked about my cultural heritage and I use my role to educate the broader community and build rapport and share experiences.
“I believe by portraying myself in an open, positive and approachable manner I can continue to break down barriers as well as be a role model to younger generations of First Nations people.
Constable Clarke is still glad she joined the Service and has the opportunity to work alongside her community members and colleagues and looks forward to seeing more people follow a similar journey to herself.
“Ultimately, it would be great to see more indigenous people within the QPS to help build important relationships between police and our indigenous communities,” she said.
“Together, we can help the Service better engage with those communities by educating not only those indigenous communities about policing but our colleagues about First Nations cultures and values as well.”
Constable Clarke is currently stationed in Townsville on Wulgurukaba and Bindal Country.
The QPS is proud to come together in celebration of the rich and diverse cultures of our First Nations communities for NAIDOC Week. We thank our First Nations members for sharing their stories.\
Originally published on https://mypolice.qld.gov.au/