By Evelyn Leckie
NEW Whittlesea Police Inspector Geri Porter is three weeks into her new role, aiming to be a strong leader not only to the police force but for women aspiring to reach their career goals.
Insp Porter has been in the police force for almost 25 years, initially joining the police academy on a bet she made with her sister.
“I wanted to prove to my sister that I could pass the fitness test – there’s a huge wall you have to climb over in the test. I made a bet with her that I could do it,” she said.
Insp Porter said since joining the academy in 1995, she had never looked back.
Migrating from Northern Ireland with her family at the age of 15, Insp Porter said coming from a quiet country town in the Northern Hemisphere, to a busy city like Melbourne was a change – especially as a police officer.
“I was tiny, 47kgs and the number of females in the profession back then was quite low,” she said.
“I’m really pleased that the numbers are better now – but we always need more.”
From undertaking her training at Mill Park and Epping stations, she then worked on sex offences and child abuse cases.
Over her career she became an undercover police officer, detective – working on fraud and sex offences and continued to be promoted to Sergeant at Brunswick Station then Senior Sergeant at Broadmeadows Station.
She also worked for Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius during the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission independent review into sex discrimination and sexual harassment within Victoria Police.
“When the report came out, I formed part of the engagement team and travelled the state, educating Victoria Police on what the report meant,” she said.
Now, in her current role, Insp Porter doesn’t confine herself to the office. In her second week on the job, she attended a police pursuit near Mernda that ended with a police shooting in Sunshine.
On top of her workload, Insp Porter is an executive member of the Police Association of Victoria – supporting police with industrial relations matters while also acting as a representative on the women’s advisory committee, federally advising on issues affecting women in policing.
A few weeks in, Insp Porter said she was loving her new role.
“I’ve got a vested interest in developing our own people,” she said.
“This is the best job in the world – I can say hand on my heart – in almost 25 years, there isn’t a day that I’ve ever hated it,” she said.
“You see people at their worst, but you also get to see people at their very best – to see community jump in and help, that’s what keeps me going.
“To help those in need when something so bad in their lives is happening to them – that’s why you join.”