Sergeant Larissa Flood is a local girl and joined the Queensland Police Service in May 1992 and I remember seeing her around the Cairns police station during her first year training period.
Larissa has not only worked in Cairns, but also Rockhampton and Brisbane in a variety of roles including uniform first response, traffic branch, inquiries, communications, watch-house and the Child Protection and Investigation Unit (CPIU) and now Domestic and Family Violence.
During her career she’s relieved at the rank of Senior Sergeant, performing duties as the District Crime Prevention Officer and the Cairns District Crime Manager.
Larissa has worked on a number of projects over the years and sights some of her career highlights as having won a couple of awards for managing the Violence No Way project and the Kids Living Safer Lives Program. Sgt Flood joined the job as an 18-year-old and some 22-years later (yes for those trying to work out her age, you are right, she is getting on in age) she is keen to progress her career and be promoted to Senior Sergeant.
Larissa recalls the days when we police women were required to wear a police blouse, culottes and stockings as part of our daily uniform. She said, “Thankfully those days are gone where we had to wear stockings and you’d be guaranteed to rip one, maybe two legs of your stockings at least once a shift!”
In her current role as the District Domestic Family Violence Co-ordinator (DFVC), Larissa hears of and sees many distressing cases of violence inflicted on individuals and families not just here in Cairns, but all around Queensland, Australia and the world.
Larissa takes her job seriously. When I asked her about her roles she put it simply, “As the DFVC, when I hear of a homicide involving domestic violence in my area I worry and feel sick. Although I may not know the person, I often blame myself and ask if there was anything that I could have missed in auditing or should have done further. In some cases some people involved in domestic and family violence have never even come to the attention of police or other agencies before. We need everyone in our community to be vigilant and report suspect cases of domestic and family violence.”
This is when Larissa sees her low points in her career and second guesses herself. Policing isn’t an easy career and many men and women struggle with the daily grind when we see and hear some of the most horrific and unthinkable jobs one could imagine. She has considered leaving the police but she like many of the police get on with the job, dig deep and get back into it as people in our communities are dependant on us to help them in their hour of need. Some need us much more than others and these are the people that we strive to help.
Larissa is Mum to a 13-year-old daughter, however when you chat to Larissa you quickly find out that 13 can sometimes mean 18 to a teen.
Larissa, like many policewomen juggling a career and children has missed out on her fair share of school functions and milestones for her daughter over the years. She does rate herself as being blessed to be in a position where she is able to work day shifts, Monday to Friday each week.
Larissa has been a school Adopt-a-Cop, at both Our Lady Help of Christians College and is now at St Monica’s College. Adopt-a-Cop duties are voluntary and more often than not officers take on this role in their own time. Larissa has managed to develop strong relationships with students, teachers, staff and parents at her adoptive schools over the years. She said, “One of my main goals is to empower young girls to become strong, independent and assertive young women. I’m pleased I can make a difference when I see these young girls develop into strong leaders.”
Larissa is our Policewomen’s Network Co-ordinator in the Northern Region which takes in all areas from Mount Isa, Townsville and the Far North Districts which is a huge area to cover. She clearly recommends policing as a career and readily provides advice to those considering policing as a career option and says, “This is an exciting career and every day is different. There are so many opportunities to work in different sections which provide you with a great set of skills for life. Networking puts you in touch with fellow colleagues, both men and women, who can steer you in the right direction and mentor you.”
Sgt Flood recommends that rather than women being mentored by just women, we should expand further by embracing our similarities and differences to learn from one another.
In her current role as the Cairns Domestic and Family Violence Coordinator in the Far North District, Larissa conducts auditing of our reporting systems to ensure consistency as well as what actions are being taken. The main role is to ensure everything possible is being done for the person who is in most need of protection and that perpetrators are held accountable for their behaviour and actions. More often than not, Larissa is at her computer up to her eyeballs in reports or meetings in an effort to help those people suffering at the hands of domestic and family violence.