Police officers awarded for bravery in the line of duty

21 April 2022

Several members of the Western Australia Police Force were presented with awards at the Royal Life Saving Bravery Awards ceremony held in October last year. The awards, in the professional category, recognised the brave actions performed by these individuals in the course of their work.

While they may be trained for such incidents, the responses of these officers went above and beyond what would normally be expected of them in their roles and demonstrated a high level of both skill and care. Below are their stories.

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First Class Constable Philip Geach, Detective Sergeant Michael Bowers, Detective First Class Constable Thomas Fryer and Senior Constable Jarren Ganzer

The officers were attending a property in Greenmount in May last year when a man jumped out of the house through a window and sustained multiple injuries. Hearing the glass breaking, the officers rushed to the scene and found the man bleeding heavily from a serious arterial wound to his forearm. 

While reassuring the man, who was frantic and anxious due to the amount of blood he was losing, the officers applied pressure to his wounds. First Class Constable Geach applied two tourniquets to stem the bleeding while other officers phoned 000, dressed the wound and continued to apply pressure.

When ambulance officers arrived, they advised that the man had severed his brachial artery and his life would have been in serious danger had it not been for the critical first aid provided by the officers on site. While police officers undertake basic first aid training, the level of skill and quick response demonstrated by these four officers was above and beyond expectations and may have ultimately saved the man’s life.

First Class Constable Geach was awarded a Royal Life Saving Gold Medallion, with Detective Sergeant Bowers, Detective First Class Constable Fryer and Senior Constable Ganzer each receiving a Gold Star for their roles in the first aid response.

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Probationary Constable Ryan Groombridge, Senior Constable Jason Taylor and Sergeant Terry Townsend

In February 2021, officers Sergeant Terry Townsend and Probationary Constable Ryan Groombridge were conducting patrols in Boulder when they were flagged down by a distressed group of people. They were directed to an area of bushland where they found a man unconscious and appearing not to be breathing. Probationary Constable Groombridge immediately assessed the man and commenced chest compressions. 

When other police units arrived on the scene, Senior Constable Jason Taylor joined the resuscitation effort. The man recommenced breathing, however ceased breathing again several times. The officers identified this each time and performed further CPR until an ambulance arrived and took him to hospital. He was later transferred to Perth via the Royal Flying Doctor Service for further treatment.

Probationary Constable Groombridge was awarded a Gold Medallion, and Senior Constable Taylor and Sergeant Townsend were each awarded a Gold Star bravery award for their efforts. They demonstrated their commitment to the community and provided outstanding care to the injured man under stressful conditions.

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Constable Harry Beecher, First Class Constable Nikita Bergant, Sergeant Paul Burke, Constable Eddie McMenamin, First Class Constable Steven Millar and Constable Jessica Smith

In December 2020, these six police officers were dispatched to a property in Kenwick where they found a man collapsed outside the home, bleeding heavily from an arm injury. Sergeant Paul Burke said the injury “was down to the bone and he was losing quite a lot of blood.”
Officers McMenamin and Bergant immediately provided first aid, applying pressure to the open wound before commencing CPR when the man became unresponsive. They were shortly joined by the other four officers, who assisted in the CPR effort while also supporting and reassuring the man’s distressed family members. 

The officers continued to perform CPR for approximately 30 minutes, continuing even after an ambulance arrived to allow paramedics to provide other critical care. Sadly, the man later died in hospital despite the group’s outstanding efforts. Each of the officers were presented with a Royal Life Saving Gold Medallion bravery award. They had worked tirelessly as a team in an attempt to save the man’s life, displaying a high level of professionalism and compassion towards him and the others present. 

Sergeant Burke said of the awards, “It’s nice to be recognised – the award was certainly a surprise, just to be nominated – and I’m proud of the team. It’s a testament to the sort of people we’ve got working here. They all just jumped in and we’ve got people in their 20s and people who have been around a lot longer and they all got stuck in, it was great to see.”

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Probationary Constable Dominic Webb and Constable Rodney Willoughby

In August last year, police constables Dominic Webb and Rodney Willoughby responded to an alert of a missing person. A man had gone to collect firewood in bush near Westdale in the morning and hadn’t returned by 10.30pm. On their way to the area, the man was found by family members and when the police arrived, they found his arm trapped by a fallen tree. 

The officers provided the initial first aid and called for assistance from the ambulance and fire brigade. After being transferred to an ambulance, the man began to experience a cardiac arrest. Constable Willoughby was travelling in the ambulance and performed CPR with a Department of Fire and Emergency Services officer for approximately 40 minutes before they reached Beverley Hospital. Once there, Constables Webb and Willoughby continued to perform CPR for approximately 20 minutes under the direction of a doctor via telelink. 

The patient was initially stabilised and care was handed over to hospital staff, however he later passed away in hospital. Both officers are in the early stages of their careers and displayed great professionalism and dedication in managing this situation and providing the urgent medical care required. For their efforts in trying to save the man’s life, they were each awarded a Royal Life Saving Gold Medallion.