November 23rd, 2023‘Absolutely no-one’ trains for something like that…
“Absolutely no-one goes to the (police) academy and trains for something like that.” They are the words of Golden Plains Hepburn operations manager Senior Sergeant Simon Brand (pictured above) almost two weeks after the accident which rocked the Daylesford community.
But the two Daylesford police officers who were the first police to arrive on the scene are doing OK, he said. “The two members were at the station, which is so close you probably could have heard it (the accident) and they were aware of people running down the street to the station. They knew it was going to be pretty bad. They took off up the street and were confronted with the scene about six minutes after it happened.
“And while there is only so much two police officers can do there were off-duty paramedics and off-duty nurses and then people out of the Royal Hotel and the Daylesford Hotel, passersby, who just did everything they could, people with no medical training who had never been exposed to any sort of trauma, doing whatever they could.
“It was a fantastic community response and became a real team effort. It was impressive and the support this community has given those police since is just fantastic.
“I guess the other thing is that this was a busy Sunday afternoon in Daylesford, so it wasn’t just this community that was impacted, people from all walks of life then went to their homes in other parts of Victoria, and Australia and even internationally. The impact is widespread.”
Sen Sgt Brand said the Major Collision Investigation Unit had interviewed around 100 witnesses but if anyone had not yet talked to the police and felt they had something to share, they should contact Daylesford Police who would then pass that information on. “You can never say you have interviewed every witness. All of a sudden someone can come forward at a later date with a critical piece of information.”
Sen Sgt Brand said the two first responder police officers were linked into police welfare services, who along with a police psychologist, arrived on the Sunday night. “It is a small team here, a sergeant and six members, and they are all pretty close, but the surrounding stations of Trentham, Creswick and Clunes have also been very supportive.
“And they know they have many avenues to seek help if they need it, with the support of Central Highlands Rural Health and they also have very supportive and close families. So they are going OK at this time but we know that can change and will continue to provide support as it is needed.”
Sen Sgt Brand, whose role takes in 12 police stations from Hepburn, Golden Plains and Moorabool shires, said most of his work had come after the accident in supporting the police members, the emergency service departments and community mental health.
“From a Victoria Police point of view, we understand that it is a very traumatic experience for the community, very impactful, and we understand we need to provide support ongoing and that is going to be for months.
“And we really want to say how grateful we are for the support of Central Highlands Rural Health, Daylesford Hospital and the general community.”