South-west police women are stamping out gender stereotypes and showcasing the lives of local members both on and off the beat.
Warrnambool police Acting Senior Sergeant Angela Fitzgerald said the western region division two's 'Our Women in Policing' committee was celebrating Thursday's International Day of Rural Women by providing an insight into life as a police woman in rural Victoria.
She said the committee had collated a series of photographs of local members both on the job and at home.
While celebrating the 2020 event, Acting Senior Sergeant Fitzgerald said she hoped the photos would also attract more women to join the south-west police force.
Acting Senior Sergeant Fitzgerald spent nearly 15 years in metropolitan policing before deciding to make the sea change to Warrnambool last year with her husband, who is also a police officer, and their three pre-school-aged daughters.
"Trading in the crammed peak hour trains and concrete jungle for the sea air and open space has given me a new lease on life," she said.
"One of the things I love most about working at a country station is how family-oriented it is. Our eldest daughter started prep this year with about a dozen other police kids and friendships have developed quickly."
Acting Senior Sergeant Fitzgerald said her managers were "understanding and flexible" with her parenting commitments and that she was "enjoying a better work/life balance than I ever had in the city".
"When I am not working I am usually out exploring the natural wonders of the great south-west with my beautiful family," she said.
Terang police Acting Sergeant Natalie Jorgensen said after graduating from the police academy in 2012, she knew she wanted to work in a regional area.
"The Warrnambool area was always a place I enjoyed visiting and I was lucky enough to be posted there after graduating," she said.
"In 2015 I transferred to the Terang police station, a 16-hour station, where I predominately work one-up.
"I love working in Terang as it is a wonderful community-driven town."
Acting Sergeant Jorgensen said working in a rural area allowed her to "maintain a terrific work/life balance".
"I can enjoy life on the farm with my young family while not working," she said.
Warrnambool police Acting Senior Sergeant Bec Miles said country policing could be challenging without "the security of the city lights and resources".
"You learn to trust your instincts and the team you work with," she said.
She said working full-time shift work and having a young family could be difficult but she was thankful for the "great friends I have made both inside and outside of work".
"I enjoy spending time with my family and baking, wearing my beautiful vintage aprons. I've finally mastered the sponge cake and famous CWA scone recipe," she said.
"It's important we can remove the reverse stereotyping that suggests we can't be both a strong working women and enjoy the more traditionally 'feminine' activities such as baking and craft."
Warrnambool police Senior Constable Jazz Kaye joined the force in her early 30s and was stationed in metropolitan stations for six years before deciding she wanted a change of scenery.
"My husband and I made the move to Warrnambool just over a year ago with our fur baby Kuri and we have not looked back," she said.
"The style of policing and jobs I have attended are completely different to working in metropolitan stations and I have expanded my policing skill set considerably."
Senior Constable Kaye said the south-west community was "helpful and welcoming" and she enjoyed exploring the region on her days off.
Warrnambool Acting Sergeant Bec Clarke said what she loved most about working rurally was "the vast range of jobs and the opportunities to expand my skill set".
"Having grown up and lived in country towns around the Warrnambool district, I had no hesitation in returning home after graduation," she said.
"Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my beautiful family and friends. There is so much to do and explore, the great south-west really has it all."
The 'Our Women in Policing' committee will upload their photographs to the Warrnambool Eyewatch Facebook on Thursday.
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