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Focus on a Mountie Mum

A big happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there from the Queensland Mounted Police Unit.

We thought to help celebrate this beautiful occasion we would introduce you to one of the mum’s from the unit; meet Constable Amy Walkden.

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Constable Walkden with her mane man, Troop Horse Elvis

I’m from
Winmalee, in the Blue Mountains, NEw South Wales. I moved to Queensland in 1998 with my then husband as part of the PACE program.

My first job
Waitress at Sizzlers in Coffs Harbour during year 11 and 12. Yes, I have the recipe for the cheese toast.

I found my way to policing
My former husband is a serving officer. It was a great opportunity to potentially have many different jobs within the one career. I did have my eye on the Mounted Unit from the outset though.

My first day with the QPS
My first REAL shift after the orientations etc. was straight onto nightshift at Deception Bay Station. I think I threw up from nerves. My FTO Glenn Kilick (he sadly has passed away from cancer) was a police officer from the UK and a little pocket rocket. It was job-to-job chasing your tail the entire shift. It was a very steep learning curve and you had to be on the ball, but it was a great first station and everyone was amazing.

My QPS service history
I did station duty at Petrie before being station at Deception Bay for my first year. I did a brief stint at Bribie in that year and Redcliffe awaiting my permanent allocation. I was then stationed at Petrie in Generals until being asked to move to Mango Hill North Lakes as foundation staff at the new station. I also had the opportunity to relieve at Dayboro which was fantastic. I applied to the Mounties in 2009 and commenced there in March 2010 and have been there ever since.

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My role
I am currently a Mounted Police officer in the Queensland Mounted Police Unit (QMPU).

Why I joined the QMPU
Joining the QMPU was a dream come true. I grew up riding and to be able to marry the love of all things equine with my job is just incredible. We have a very unique role and it takes a very special horse to do all the things we ask of them. It’s the culmination of all the hard work and training to know that whatever the task, whatever the situation, your equine partner trusts you and has your back. It still blows my mind sometimes the jobs we get to do and the places we get to go.

My horse background
I grew up riding, going to pony club and local shows as well as mustering on properties on school holidays. I also studied a Bachelor of Applied Science in Equine Studies at Charles Sturt University Wagga Wagga and currently breed Scottish Highland ponies.

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A typical day
We have two different shift types at the QMPU: a stable shift and a patrol shift.

A stable shift consists of feeding horses, mucking out stables as well as riding horses and general animal husbandry. We also attend to paperwork and administration on these shifts.

A patrol shift is pretty similar to a General Duties shift except the vehicle we sign out is a truck and float with our hairy partners in the back. We could be deployed anywhere in South East Queensland to assist local crews, attend a major event, or give a talk to school kids.

Our role is so diverse, from crowd management to community policing and ceremonial duties and everything in between.

Outside being a police officer
Besides the horses, I trained as a classic ballet dancer and ballroom dancer in my younger days and I still love to dance. I am also active in my local church community and serve as a Worship Leader, singing in front of the congregation and writing songs. I also sing with Melody in Blue (the QPS choir) performing at various events including Police Remembrance Day services and the Commissioner’s Christmas Gift Drive.

My family
I have my wonderful husband who is a music teacher and sings, three daughters aged 18, 15, and 2 and two stepsons aged 13 and 10.

My big love
Besides my family, God. My faith is very important to me and is central to everything else in life.

Favourite thing about being a mum
There is so much it’s hard to pick just one, but I think coming home at the end of the day to your kids. You could have had a really tough shift and the hugs and smiles on their faces make everything we do worth it. Hearing I love you mummy, never gets old.

Being a police officer has made me
Prioritise what’s important. I don’t sweat the small stuff as much.

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I am inspired by
Inspiration comes from many people and places, but my mum is my hero. She battled breast cancer when I was in my late teens and is now a survivor of more than 20 years.

My biggest fan
My family. They think what I do is pretty cool.

An obstacle I’ve had to overcome
Being a single mum for 10 years. Doing this on my own with a young family was tough, but my family, friends and colleagues all rallied around me and we got through. Achieving work life balance can be hard but I think being able to work part time hours after the birth of my youngest daughter, has been a huge leap forward in that area.

My biggest success
My babies! Each and every one of them is a miracle. Raising my kids and helping them achieving their dreams and goal is the biggest success I will ever have.

Memorable QPS moment
Leading the Vice Regal Escort into the Ekka on Troop Horse Elvis a few years back. It’s a lot of pressure being up front but also a great honour. Getting to meet Her Excellency the Governor General Quentin Bryce was amazing.

Memorable QMPU moment
Going code 2 to a brawl on Anne Street Fortitude Valley where officers were being assaulted and calling for urgent assistance. Four Troop Horses responding at speed with sparks flying off the horses shoes to the sounds of a busking trumpeter playing the cavalry charge was a sight to behold. The requesting police were very happy on our arrival.

My favourite Troop Horse
My favourite is Elvis, he is an 11-year-old Thoroughbred ex-racehorse. He is by Lonhro, and sold for over $240,000.00 at the Magic Millions sales. He wasn’t a very good race horse, but he is an outstanding Police Horse. He has a whole lot of attitude, and he 100% knows that he is a police horse, with a job to do, and he LOVES his work. Elvis was the first horse I was given to train and develop at the QMPU. He came as a green 4-year-old, fresh off the track and we have been together ever since.

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My professional edge
My women’s intuition. Never doubt your gut instinct. It’s saved my skin many times.

My colleagues at the QMPU
Are from all different life experiences and equestrian disciplines, but we are a team.

Toughest part of the job
Being away from the family on deployment. Also saying goodbye to the horses when they retire. We get pretty attached.

Best part of the job
When people go out of their way to thank you for doing a job most people couldn’t or wouldn’t do, for the sacrifice we and our families make for the job we do, it’s worth it. Also getting to go to work every day with your best friend is pretty awesome.

A virtue to live by
Family comes first. This can be a very demanding job, physically and emotionally but at the end of the day your family needs to be number one and they need to know it.

Never say
The ‘Q’ word (it’s quiet). It’s all over after that. But seriously, never say never. Things can change when you least expect it.

The best advice I can give a potential applicant thinking that could be me in the QMPU
Back yourself. You don’t have to be the world’s best rider or the prettiest rider, but you need to have some guts. Just like when you fall off a horse, get up dust yourself off and have another go. Being a specialist unit it can take some time to get here but it’s a job like no other.

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