Indigenous Hunter students on pathway to become police officers

DOMINIC Cavallaro-Laverty has always dreamed of following his father into the emergency services.

Proud: Biripi man Dominic Cavallaro-Laverty, Darkinjung man Ben Hand and Wiradjuri woman Gemma Stopps are among 10 Hunter graduates. Picture: Simone De Peak.

Proud: Biripi man Dominic Cavallaro-Laverty, Darkinjung man Ben Hand and Wiradjuri woman Gemma Stopps are among 10 Hunter graduates. Picture: Simone De Peak.

Mr Cavallaro-Laverty’s father Rod is a retained Fire and Rescue NSW firefighter at Wallsend and has been an example of the lengths members of the services go to and the risks they take to protect their community.

Mr Cavallaro-Laverty said the insight did not deter him.

“I’ve accepted it as part of the job,” he said.

“There are more pros than cons. Yes there are risks, but you also get to help the local community every day.”

Mr Cavallaro-Laverty, 18, of Fletcher was born in Port Macquarie and is a proud Biripi man.

He was one of 10 people who graduated from TAFE Hunter Institute on Friday after completing a 12 week skill-development program called Indigenous Police Recruitment Our Way Delivery.

IPROWD is designed to prepare Aboriginal people to gain entry to the NSW Police Force.

The program covers Aboriginal studies, police studies, communication, computer skills, numeracy and literacy as well as excursions to sites including the NSW Police Academy at Goulburn and the Bulgandry aboriginal art site at Kariong. 

Students receive a Certificate III in Vocational and Study Pathways.

Graduates will relocate to Dubbo to study from May 29 for a five week University Certificate of Workforce Essentials, a mandatory requirement for all NSW Police Force applicants.

They will continue to prepare for their application to the NSW Police Force, which includes a physical and medical assessment and interview.

“I’ve heard stories about local Indigenous police officers who have gone back to their communities and gone on to have a massive impact,” Mr Cavallaro-Laverty said.

“The communities respond really well to an Indigenous person in uniform.”

He said he would like to repay his hard-working mum Therese and be a good role model for his three younger brothers and other youth.

Mr Cavallaro-Laverty’s classmates Gemma Stopps and Ben Hand received the Gibbs Award, named in honour of Peter Gibbs, who developed the program after his sister Fiona died in police custody in 1997.