Meet Constable Kenny Koala's new handler!

20 Sep 2017

David Packwood has been an important member of ACT Policing for more than five years after he joined the Media Team back in 2012. Recently David became Constable Kenny Koala's handler and has passionately taken on the role.

Prior to joining ACT Policing David has enjoyed a career centred around his love of sport, having started out at the Australian Sports Drug Agency where he worked for 10 years, before moving on to the Australian Institute of Sport where he spent 12 years working in the media unit promoting athletes and coaches.

In 2015 David received the Australia Day medallion which recognised his media work assisting detectives with the cold case murder of Irma Palasics and for his work in assisting families who have lost loved ones in homicides.

David is known as a very family orientated man who has a passion for sport. He is regularly heard on ABC radio having called NRL football for the last 20 years. David also writes the weekly Canberra sports column in the Sunday Telegraph, is the Master of Ceremonies for many functions during the year as well as working with Netball ACT on a part time basis promoting their sport.

The job of following in the footsteps of Stewart Waters as Constable Kenny Koala's handler was always going to be a tough one, but I have been enjoying the challenge of carrying on the work of an ACT Policing legend.

Stewart retired last month after 15 years of dedicated service working with Constable Kenny throughout Canberra's schools.

I have been fortunate enough to take on the Constable Kenny program which continues to educate preschool and primary-aged school children between the age of three and 12 years of age on a range of safety themes, and to encourage them to turn to police for help and advice.

After an eight week training program working alongside Stewart it is an honour to take on the new role and represent ACT Policing in Canberra's schools.

The importance of the Constable Kenny role is never lost on me, whether I'm in a classroom educating kids or at a school fete representing ACT Policing.

There is no bigger buzz than to walk in to a classroom of kids and have them learn important safety messages around road, school, the community, computer or for life.

We do it in a fun way and the smiles and responses I get from the children at the end of the session makes me feel so good inside.

We do make a difference in their lives and we reinforce the message that police are your friends whose job is to help make you feel safe," Mr Packwood said.

Last year the Constable Kenny program visited 1189 classes delivering safety messages to more than 23 000 children. The program also visited 44 community events where Constable Kenny continues to be a hit.

It blows me away how popular Constable Kenny is within the Canberra community

When I go to schools kids yell his name out as if he was Justin Bieber and I've lost count of the number of children who want to tell me that 'he's the best'. Even with all the attention, Constable Kenny never lets it go to his head.

Even when I'm filling the Constable Kenny police car up with petrol the older generation will wave and come up and reminisce about the days when Constable Kenny came to their school

The variety of different programs delivered to different age groups was challenging but one that I enjoy. I can walk into a childcare centre and they are at an age where they are just fixated with Constable Kenny and just want to touch or cuddle him.

Then half an hour later I'm at a Year 6 primary school talking to students about what are some of the issues they could be confronted with over the next six to eight years of their lives. It's a more serious lesson where we talk about decisions they make and how they influence the consequences that can occur - both good and bad.

My first Year 6 class absolutely blew me away in terms of the maturity of the students and the issues they believe they could confront. At the end of the session I had five students stay behind to talk to me about different issues in their lives and they really appreciated the opportunity just to talk to someone.

I've always believed the greatest thing you can do in life is make a difference and we do that through the Constable Kenny program

Visit Constable Kenny's website for more information on the program and to download free resources and activities for kids.

 

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