St Marys Local Area Command street parade celebrates 100 years of women in policing

FEMALE officers from St Marys local area command joined a giant street parade to celebrate the centenary of women in the NSW Police Force on Friday.

Inspector Tracy Stone — the highest-ranked women at her command — led the parade from St Marys’ Coachmans Park to St Marys Corner Community and Cultural Precinct carrying a commemorative baton.

About 50 officers, sworn and unsworn, followed.

‘‘It was very well received — a lot of videoing, a lot of clapping. It was nice,’’ Chief Inspector Mick Connolly said of the 17-minute long procession, part of the inaugural NSW Women in Policing Baton Relay which started on March 8.

The St Marys parade featured police horses, historical police cars, a piper, and retired St Marys LAC female officers including Penrith councillor Tricia Hitchen.

Rotary provided a barbecue at St Marys Corner, with gold coin donations going to Police Legacy.

A band performed, and there was police memorabilia and Women in Policing displays.

Whalan Reserve was also a sea of blue uniforms on Wednesday, as female constables from Mount Druitt took on Chifley College Mt Druitt Campus and youth involved in Emerton Leisure Centre’s Breaking Boundaries program in a touch football competition.

The friendly game followed a walk-run by 33 officers from Mount Druitt police station to the reserve, accompanied by highway patrol cars and carrying the Women in Policing baton.

The LAC’s Aboriginal liaison officer Darryl Hamilton gave an acknowledgment of country at the reserve. There were displays and the first female officer attached to the command, retired sergeant Deb Swain, cut a cake.

The baton will visit 76 NSW police commands before returning to the Opera House in September.

The celebrations recognise the huge journey for women in policing, which began with Lillian Armfield and Maude Rhodes, who were employed as Special Constables in 1915.

‘‘We now have hundreds of committed and successful women working in diverse roles,” St Marys’ commander Superintendent Gregory Peters said.