Dedicated policeman retiring

Published 3:00pm 7 September 2022

Dedicated policeman retiring
Words by Jodie Powell

Policing hasn’t just been a job for former Dayboro policeman Sergeant Dave McDougall, it’s been a way of life.

In a couple of weeks he will retire from the Queensland Police Service after 40 years in a job that has taken him from one end of the state to the other.

From December 1988 to September 1995, Sgt McDougall was stationed at Dayoro, where he and wife Karen continued their work with the charity Community Supporting Police, which provides financial and physical support to all members of the police family in times of illness, trauma and stress.

One way the charity helps officers and their families is by providing free accommodation close to hospitals if they need to travel to major cities for treatment.

“Our involvement in CSP enabled us to give back to our police family by fundraising and helping to develop services to directly provide support,” Sgt McDougall says.

“CSP raises funds through donations and by selling merchandise such as ‘Koala Cops’, and some of the first Koala Cop uniforms were made at our police residence at Dayboro.”

Variety of roles

Dedicated policeman retiring

Job satisfaction, variety and belonging to a supportive “police family” are among Sgt McDougall’s reasons for making policing his lifelong career.

“The variety of roles I’ve undertaken within policing and the different challenges they presented have always kept my interest,” Sgt McDougall says.

|“I don’t know of any other job where you can go to work, jump in a car with your mates, drive around looking for trouble and get paid to do it.”|

Early calling

Dedicated policeman retiring

Sgt McDougall knew he wanted to be a police officer from the age of 11.

“Our house had been broken into and, among other things, my pocket money was stolen.

“The Beaudesert police caught the offenders and so I decided that’s what I wanted to do - help people and catch the bad guys.”

He was sworn in at the age of 19 after graduating from the QPS Academy at Oxley in 1982 and says his career has been quite a ride at times.

“I’ve engaged in emergent driving, fast running and fence jumping and I’ve commandeered cars, a boat, a quad bike, a steam train and a kayak to chase down offenders,” he said.

Bravery honoured

Dedicated policeman retiring

Sgt McDougall liked “catching the bad guys” so much that on March 19, 1993, he drove from Dayboro to Mango Hill to apprehend an armed bank robber, by himself—a feat acknowledged with an Assistant Commissioner’s Certificate.

He’s had 13 different postings during his policing career, which have taken him from the Gold Coast to Burketown in the Gulf of Carpentaria and places in between, involving a diverse range of roles.

Currently working at the Policelink call centre at Zillmere, he keenly remembers his very first posting at Mount Isa.

“I was looking for adventure, so after completing in-service training at Brisbane City Station and Broadbeach Mobiles from 1982-1983, I informed the inspector that I was willing to go anywhere.

“A week later, I packed everything I owned into my car and ventured to Mount Isa for two years of great memories.

“My wife and I found each other in Mount Isa, and I still refer to Karen as ‘the special of the week’ as she worked at Coles at the time.”

Sgt McDougall spent almost half of his police service based at regional and remote stations, and Karen and their two daughters Anita and Jaclyn had the opportunity to see Queensland and experience life in small communities.

Building communities

Dedicated policeman retiring

“Our goal was to liaise and integrate with our communities and leave them better off than when we arrived,” he says.

“Becoming involved with the community is key to providing an effective policing presence, and over the years Karen and I joined or commenced numerous community organisations, many of which are still active today.”

Throughout his policing career, Sgt McDougall says he’s found that the QPS values of integrity, community, professionalism, respect and fairness have guided his interactions with people from all walks of life.

“You meet people in their worst hour—people who may see you as the enemy and people who are relying on you for help,” he says.

|“I’ve found that honesty and fairness go a long way in life and especially in this job.”|

Time to relax

Dedicated policeman retiring

Despite being devoted to policing, after 40 years in the job Sergeant McDougall is looking forward to retirement on his 60th birthday.

“Life will be one big holiday, allowing us the time to travel, time to spend with family and friends, and time to sleep in.

“It has been a privilege to be a part of the police family, sharing in the victories as well as the grief experienced by so many dedicated officers.”


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