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May 24, 2024

Byron police chief receives Queens Birthday honour

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Tweed Byron Superintendent Dave Roptell received an Australian Police Medal in the 2022 Queens Birthday Honours List. PIC: SUPPLIED

Tweed/Byron Police District Superintendent David Roptell has been recognised for more than thirty years of service to NSW Police as part of the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Supt Roptell was promoted to the Northern Rivers police leadership role in 2019.

Within a year of his transfer, he was tasked with overseeing a series of operations related to emergency public health orders introduced in response to the COVID -19 pandemic.

Those special duties included managing the impact of Queensland and NSW border closures on northern NSW communities.

He was also in charge of the area when an exhaustive investigation launched into the disappearance of then eighteen-year-old Belgium backpacker Theo Hayez.

Police officer with specialised youth experience leads Byron region

A biography of Supt Roptell’s police career mentioned his work on youth crime prevention.

The youth-focused police leader came to the Byron region at a time when perceptions of relations between local police and youth were poor.

An altercation between four officers and a teenage boy in Byron Bay’s CBD in early 2018 was caught on video that later went viral and showed one officer hitting the boy, who was naked, eighteen times with a baton.

The officer was transferred from Byron’s police station to the Richmond Police District slightly further south and later trialled and acquitted on an assault charge.

Supt Roptell was credited with developing and implementing a Police Transport Youth Strategy in 2017 and setting up a program called ‘Youth Express’.

Youth Express was reportedly aimed at identifying youth at risk, diverting them from the criminal justice system and connecting individuals to Police Citizens’ Youth Club [PCYC] programs.

He went on to become the NSW Police Youth and Crime Prevention Commander, leading ‘Youth Diversionary Programs’ in partnership with the PCYC as part of the Police Commissioner’s ‘Rise Up’ Strategy in 2018.

As a member of the police Youth Advisory Group, Supt Roptell is said to have focused on youth coming into adverse contact with the criminal justice system, improving service delivery and mitigating youth related crime in communities.

Byron police chief credited for work with FN communities

Earlier in his career, Supt Roptell served as Staff Officer to the Deputy Commissioner, Specialist Operations, and later took command of the South West Sector within Police Transport Command.

He was also credited for his work liaising with First Nations communities.

‘While at Redfern, Supt Roptell enthusiastically embraced and supported strategies designed to connect with and build partnerships with Aboriginal youth and community to prevent crime and improve relationships between police and the wider aboriginal community,’ an official biography read.

As well as Redfern, Supt Roptell previously worked in Rose Bay and Bankstown, with his first police job performing general duties in Campsie.

He was honoured for his police work along with nine other NSW police officers over the Queens Birthday long weekend.

The Echo was told Supt Roptell had the long weekend off but would be back on duty Tuesday.

Deputy Premier says ‘entire state’ thankful to honoured police

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said via a media statement many of the award recipients had focused on improving outcomes for the state’s most vulnerable communities.

‘Policing is a unique career, which exposes us to the best and worst of humanity,’ Commissioner Webb said, ‘the Australian Police Medal is recognition of selfless duty to serving and protecting the community’.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Paul Toole praised the APM recipients, with Mr Toole saying the awards symbolised gratitude from ‘the entire state’.

Australian Police Medals are distributed twice-yearly, as part of Australia Day and Queen’s Birthday events.

Other 2022 APM recipients honoured in June were:

Assistant Commissioner Brett Greentree – Western Region Commander

Assistant Commissioner Brett McFadden – Traffic and Highway Patrol Command

Superintendent Karen Cook – Kings Cross Police Area Command

Superintendent Donna McCarthy – Office of the Commissioner, NSW Police Legacy

Detective Superintendent Michael McLean – Anti-Terrorism and Intelligence Group

Chief Inspector Stephen Fowler – The Hills Police Area Command

Detective Chief Inspector Brett Smith – Western Region

Detective Inspector Kirsty Hales – Tactical Operations Group

Detective Sergeant Mark Meredith – Orana Police District


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A long story

I see that Israel supporters take exception to the expression ‘from the river to the sea’ as meaning that all Jews should be wiped...

Housing: too important to leave to private market

It saddens me every time I get to the back of The Echo and see all the real estate ads, so I was mortified...

Shambolic roads

With regards to the Echo article, ‘Let’s dive deep into potholes’ (May 15), I am appalled at the attitude and the utter sense of...

Kinship Festival returns Saturday 25 May to Murwillumbah

The Kinship Festival – a free North Coast cultural festival led by First Nations people – will be held in Knox Park, Murwillumbah on Saturday, 25 May.