On the Beat – Dana Larkin
St Mary’s College Ipswich graduate Dana Larkin is a general duties police officer for the Queensland Police Service, based at Yamanto. Confident and resilient, she spends her days responding to triple zero calls and never knows exactly what she will find when she heads out to a job.
This career path, though, was not what she had planned.
“When I finished Year 12 (in 2014) I enrolled in a Bachelor of Science majoring in Biomedical Science. All throughout high school I knew I wanted to pursue university, and I felt I wanted to challenge myself with science,” Dana said.
Graduating from her degree three years later in 2018, Dana found herself thinking “what next”. She considered her options to be either getting a job in the field, or continuing study, perhaps with a different degree entirely.
“When I didn’t get excited at the thought of either, I started to think more broadly,” she said. “I can’t say precisely what sparked the interest in policing, but the more I thought about it, I could envision myself in the role.”
Now in her first year out of the Academy, Dana knows she has made the right decision. She thrives on the fast-paced nature of police work, where every day is different and there are always opportunities for her to be challenged and extended. “The variety in generals in incredible. Some days can be a blur and you won’t get to stop to eat; other times you’ll see us enjoying coffee and chatting. It all depends on what calls we receive over the radio,” Dana said. “Most days are a lot of fun, and I work with a great team of people who I learn from every day.”
Dana credits her time at St Mary’s College for helping her to become a moral, balanced young woman. “Mary’s was a great school to grow within. I always felt safe and supported during my time there,” she said. “I also think that the studies in religion – and specifically the study of multiple religions – is something not to be undervalued. The general understanding and respect of religions I gained at St Mary’s does make living and policing in a multicultural and multifaith community so much easier.”
“Some of my best memories of St Mary’s were our wonderful teachers,” she said. “I really believe St Mary’s students are very lucky to be taught by such energetic and gracious teachers. I loved the art and experience days (MAAD Days) and I loved how modern the science lab became.”
Looking to the future, Dana hopes to work in a plain clothes role in the Criminal Investigation Branch and earn her Detective’s appointment. “It is a long process involving further study and exams, and the appointment is based on merit. To be a detective and a part of the investigations into big cases like murders and drug trafficking would be hugely rewarding,” she said.
For now, she is focussed on doing her job to the best of her ability, serving the community and working to build strong relationships. “Many situations present challenges but communication really is the ultimate tool. Resolving situations safely and in the right way is very satisfying.”
Recently, Dana returned to St Mary’s College, representing Queensland Police at the school’s Career Market. She encourages any young women considering a career in the Police Force to “go for it!” “Do some research and speak to serving members about the highs and lows of the job so you have a realistic expectation. Keep fit and motivated and always ready to learn.”
St Mary’s College Ipswich wishes Dana well in her future endeavours and we look forward to seeing her out on the beat.