21 April 2023

Get to know your first responders at community safety day

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
Start the conversation
Riverina Police District acting superintendent Nadine Roberts with Wagga City Council Social Planning Coordinator Sarah Lehman and Riverina Police District Inspector Jill Gibson.

Riverina Police District acting superintendent Nadine Roberts with Wagga Wagga City Council social planning coordinator Sarah Lehman and Riverina Police District Inspector Jill Gibson. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Families and residents of Wagga are invited to a community safety day at Riverside Park Precinct to meet local first responders.

Wagga Wagga City Council, Riverina Police District and Lake Albert Rural Fire Service encourage community members to attend the safety day to voice their concerns.

The family-friendly event is being held adjacent to the Riverside Playground near Wagga Beach between 10 am and 12 pm on Saturday 29 April.

Wagga council’s social planning coordinator Sarah Lehman said the council was working on the safety day initiative in collaboration with police. The initiative stemmed from the 2022 Community Safety Action Plan.

Ms Lehman said it was vital to create a connection between the local residents and emergency services.

“Emergency services do a really tough job … a lot of the time community members’ first engagement or only engagement is in a crisis setting,” she said.

READ ALSO Getting down to business, prestigious Golden Crow Awards officially on the lookout for excellence

“The goal is to make them feel more comfortable to provide their community safety concerns in a relaxed environment.”

Riverina Police District professional standards, youth and engagement officer Inspector Jillian Gibson said being involved with WWCC and looking at community safety was one of the main concerns for the police.

“Speaking to community, finding out what their concerns are and seeing how we can better interact because sometimes the first experience people have with police is during a time of crisis,” Insp Gibson said.

Insp Gibson said the first hour is set to be sensory-friendly, with reduced noises.

“Providing that sensory-friendly hour allows families who have children with needs that ability to come out and enjoy your day,” she said.

“And also to meet those first responders and make those connections with them (families and children) to show them that we are there to help, we’re not scary … if they do need something, they just need to come and see us.”

Insp Gibson’s message to those who are afraid or have reservations about police and first responders is that they are also people.

“Don’t be afraid … everyone’s got to remember that we wear a uniform, we’re people, parents, brothers and sisters, mums, dads, aunties, uncles, and friends,” she said.

“We’re just people that put on a uniform, and whether that’s in a volunteer capacity or a paid capacity.

“What we’re doing it for is to try and help our communities … be VRA, SES, RFS, New South Wales Fire Brigade, ambulance, we’re all doing it for the right reasons and we all just want to be there and assist people.”

Insp Gibson is inviting everyone to come down and say ‘g’day’ to the emergency services and first responders and ‘have some fun’.

READ ALSO High-profile visits hope to shine more light on Pro Patria Centre’s vital work

Ms Lehman said the day would include static displays of trucks and vehicles by the emergency services and first responders which families and children could explore.

“Emergency services and first responders are pretty competitive,” she said. “We’ll have some fun competitive games between the services.”

People can get food and drinks from Black Crow Beach Cafe and will get to vote on their favourite displays.

The Family Community Safety Day aligns with council’s Community Safety Action Plan 2022- 2026 (CSAP), which outlines the strategies and actions to increase safety, reduce crime where possible, and work towards building a safe and vibrant city for the future.

The plan was informed by extensive engagement with community members from a diverse range of backgrounds to ensure it is reflective of the many voices that make up the local community.

The top five community concerns identified through this engagement were about home break-ins, domestic and family violence, arson, the sale and use of illegal drugs, and alcohol-related assault.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Riverina news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riverina stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.