Top cop headed for the big smoke

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
South West Supt Mick Sutherland prepares to say goodbye to Bunbury Police Station and the South West.
Camera IconSouth West Supt Mick Sutherland prepares to say goodbye to Bunbury Police Station and the South West. Credit: Kate Fielding / South Western Times

South West Supt Mick Sutherland is no stranger to being in front of the camera and answering journalists’ tough questions.

His role as the region’s top cop for the past 3 1/2 years has seen him front the media numerous times, fielding questions over the most horrifying crimes and deaths.

But when asked by the Bunbury Herald to talk about himself and his second stint at the helm, a modest Supt Sutherland said it had never been about him.

“My whole focus has been the community – to listen and respond to the community and have that connection,” Supt Sutherland said.

“It has really been a privilege to serve this community and the entire South West as district superintendent.”

Supt Sutherland’s commitment to the job has not gone unnoticed, as he prepares to leave the South West and take up the position of WA Police State Traffic Commander in Perth.

It is a bittersweet moment for Supt Sutherland, who is looking forward to a new challenge, but will leave behind the regional lifestyle he has come to love.

Supt Sutherland returned to Bunbury in 2016, having held the top job six years earlier. In that time he has re-established connections with government, business and local support agencies.

He has also forged ahead and built positive relationships with the region’s Aboriginal communities, carrying on from his time in the Kimberly where. in 2013. he was recognised with the Reconciliation Award as part of the Kullarri NAIDOC Awards.

In the South West, Supt Sutherland has been overseeing the 16 police stations between Waroona and Augusta.

Not usually one to focus on statistics, Supt Sutherland said he had seen changes over the past three years.

“We’ve been able to make some real strides around certain crime and that’s usually around community-led information we can act upon,” he said.

“One of the greatest things is the community have responded well in working alongside the police, and that connection to the community and having a visual presence has always been my mantra.

“I’d like to thank the community and encourage them to continue to report to local police and Crime Stoppers.”

It will not be uncommon to see Supt Sutherland back in the South West, with his plan to retire in the region still intact.

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