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World’s longest serving female police officer awarded

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Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic is a senior journalist for the North Central Review primarily covering politics at all levels and sport with a particular interest in basketball. Since 2019 she has worked for several publications across Victoria including most recently at the Alexandra Standard and Yea Chronicle. She is always keen to hear from local community members about issues they face and has an interest in crime and court reporting.

AFTER 51 years of policing, Mernda Police Station’s Detective Senior Sergeant Joy Murphy is the world’s longest serving female police officer.

Det Sen Sgt Murphy was also awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the community through emergency response organisation this year.

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She said it was a surprise to receive the award with nominations submitted by peers and selected by the Governor-General’s office.

“I’m quite humbled that a person or persons nominated me. I’m excited and humbled by the award,” she said.

Recognised by the International Association of Women Police for her record-breaking service, Det Sen Sgt Murphy said she had contemplated retiring for a decade.

“Probably for the last 10 years I’ve been thinking of retirement but there’s always something else to do or something exciting that I wanted to be a part of so it just kind of happened. It snuck up on me,” she said.

“It’s nearly 51 years of policing and apart from the fact you’re dealing with traumatic events and people who might be upset or angry at you, I’ve really loved being a police officer. I feel I’ve made a bit of a difference to some people’s lives.”

Det Sen Sgt Murphy said a recently received letter of thanks from a victim of a serial rapist about 40 years ago had meant a lot.

“Getting that kind of thanks from the community is absolute gold. It really is,” she said.

Detective Senior Sergeant Joy Murphy graduated from the police academy in 1973. ​

Working out of Mernda Police Station since it opened in 2017, Det Sen Sgt Murphy has spent more than 30 years working in sex crimes.

Originally a member of the Diamond Creek Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigations Team, SOCIT, she combined the Diamond Creek and Epping SOCITS to become a single Mernda unit.

She said sexual assault was one of the worst crimes a person could suffer.

“With homicide, everyone says it’s terrible but that person isn’t suffering anymore, whereas sexual assault victims never really recover from sexual assault depending on the severity. But to be honest I don’t think there’s a good sexual assault,” she said.

“It’s been good to be able to look after the victim and establish what their wants and needs are [and] then prosecuting an offender for committing those sorts of offences on someone, and being successful in court is always satisfying.

“There’s always good and bad to most sides of policing. You’re either dealing with somebody whose just had the worst day of their whole life or perhaps the other extreme where you’re bringing a result that makes them feel fantastic.”

Detective Senior Sergeant Joy Murphy

Det Sen Sgt Murphy served as head of the Sexual Offences Squad becoming one of, if not the first, women in Victoria Police appointed as officer-in-charge of a crime squad.

“I was very proud to get that position. I didn’t even think about the fact it might be the first female officer in charge of a crime squad but to me it was getting that specific job and furthering that unit,” she said.

“We were dealing with victims of sexual assault and being able to put my ideas and thoughts into it to improve the processes for victims and to get better outcomes was great.

“I was just excited to get that job so I could contribute something to the whole process and make a difference.”

Det Sen Sgt Murphy was also responsible for unaccounted people at Kinglake and St Andrews during the Black Saturday bushfires.

“It was really hard because you really wanted to let people know that their loved one had perished so they’d stop looking but we couldn’t do that until the coroner gave us the okay,” she said.

“It was a pretty horrific time actually.”

Looking back, Det Sen Sgt Murphy said she had enjoyed her career.

“To quote one of our past chief commissioners Mick Miller ‘being a police officer is like having a front row seat to the greatest show on Earth’ and it absolutely has been for me,” she said.

“We see the worst of life but we see the best of it as well. It’s not all doom and gloom. It’s a hard job at times but it’s quite rewarding in a lot of ways.”

With plans to retire in August this year, Det Sen Sgt Murphy will be presented a physical medal by the Governor-General later this year.

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