Kullarri Patrol taking a personal approach to uniting the community
Written on the 22 September 2016 by Jael Napper
Walking into the modest offices of Kullarri Patrol out back of Mamabulanjin, the group's vision is clearly written on their wall, "A safer, respectful, caring and united community."
And the mission statement is one which could be adapted to every organisation in Broome "To enhance community safety, promote reconciliation, respect and community harmony through a collaborative and coordinated approach."
The Kullarri mobile patrol plays a vital part in community safety and has been regarded as crucial in complementing the police with crime prevention and anti social behaviour. They patrol the streets within target areas to divert adult indigenous intoxicated individuals from potential overnight detention or police lock ups.
In August alone the Patrol picked up 1279 people, 62 of those children under 12.
Their drop off points are carefully considered to protect the community collective, and are the safest most appropriate place for individuals to go.
A valuable service in its own right and widely called on by local businesses, there's more than meets the eye to this service.
Thomas King has been Patrol Manager of Kullarri Patrol since March 2015, previously ranger coordinator at Karajarri rangers in Bidyadanga. He's still Chairperson for Karajarri Traditional Lands Association.
Since being recruited to the Patrol by CEO of Mamabulanjin Neil Gower, Thomas has brought a different way of thinking and culture to the Patrol by taking a greater interest in the individuals who they provide service to.
These diversionary antics include taking groups out fishing for a day to give them a rest from the grog, which in turn provides a good opportunity to introduce guest service providers to engage with the individuals.
"It took us at least 10 months of working with that person to get them stable enough to understand the implications of their behaviour. Having a house means they can't have relatives over there drinking or they'll end up back at square one.
"We make sure they can function on their own and they know where to get assistance for furniture and household things to get the basics at least right. Hopefully others will now see that and be inspired.
"We'll keep working on that to get an outcome for the people individually and educate them on the community's safety and where they fit in to the whole scheme of things.
Beyond the individuals, Thomas also has a vision for the collective to extinguish these problems from our society through positive engagement.
"We're under no illusions the extent of the situation so it's about identifying the more promising people and focusing on them to try and set the right examples.
In collating stats of where their clients originate, approximately 45% are from Broome, the next 30% Bidyadanga, Halls Creek and Fitzroy. Then there's Derby, Wyndam, Kununurra and further afield including language groups from the Territory, Queensland and southern WA. Thomas would like to explore ways of taking advantage of all these different cultures gathering in Broome and how they could bring benefit to the community.
"How can we embrace them rather than see them as a burden? Utilise their skills and presence to the community's benefit, otherwise we just throw our hands up and say we've had enough.
"We need everybody to own the solution the whole community including the Shire, Police, Business, Yawuru, NGOS.
As a collective we can solve anything, but it's whether we have the will. I refuse to believe we can't help people -that's defeatist. I'm about finding solutions and I'm not waiting around for anybody else because I don't have 100 years to spare in my lifetime."
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