Queen’s Birthday honours awarded to six QPS officers

Six serving police officers have today received the Australian Police Medal in recognition of their distinguished service to the community.

The recipients of the award are Detective Superintendent Michael Niland (State Crime Command), Superintendent Peter Fleming (Operation Support Command), Inspector Allan Hales (Road Policing Command), Senior Sergeant Julie Cooling (Community Contact Command), Senior Sergeant Helen Barnett (Brisbane Region) and Senior Sergeant Sonia Smith (Ethical Standards Command).

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart praised the individual officers for their dedication to the service, their fellow officers and to the community.

“They have all demonstrated the leadership abilities and high standards that we expect from our Service,” Commissioner Stewart said.

“Officers such as these inspire and encourage those around them to strive to attain similar standards of professionalism and are excellent role models to those joining the service.

“These officers come from a wide range of policing backgrounds and have significant knowledge in their respective fields that greatly benefits the service that police provide to the community.

“I would like to personally thank these officers on behalf of the Queensland Police Service and wish them all the best for their future careers.”

Award recipients information

Detective Superintendent Michael Niland graduated from the Academy in 1981 and has had a range of policing appointments during his career. He is recognised for his leadership and expertise particularly in the area of solving and preventing serious organised crime and displays tenacity, skill and excellence in developing and fostering innovative policing practices in the area of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMCG). He is committed in his role as Commander, Taskforce Maxima, Queensland Police Service’s response to increased acts of public violence and intimidation in Queensland by OMCG by disrupting, disabling, dismantling and eliminating crime gangs in Queensland. 

Superintendent Peter Fleming has served the Queensland Police Service and community with distinction since 1985. During his career he has performed duties at executive offices, specialist commands and in a number of geographical districts throughout Queensland including secondments to external agencies and Commissions of Inquiry. He is recognised for his operational experience in the leadership and management of personnel within police districts and commands. He has displayed proficiency in a range of specialist areas including: intelligence-counter terrorism, major events and traffic operations, specialist crime commands, ethical standards and official corruption investigations. Superintendent Fleming has worked in a number of key management and investigative appointments and most recently as the Commissioner’s Chief of Staff.


Inspector Allan Hales began his career in 1975 and has since had a distinguished traffic policing career beginning from his first appointment as Constable at the Brisbane Traffic Branch in November 1976 to his present position as Operations Manager, Traffic Camera Office, Road Policing Command. Whilst, Inspector Hales is proficient in all aspects of traffic policing, it is the area of speed management and camera detected offences he has excelled. He is recognised for his contribution, leadership and excellence in organisational improvement and change management through the development and implementation of speed management and camera detection technology and policy within the QPS. Inspector Hales is acknowledged both within and external to the QPS as a leading police authority on speed management and camera detection technology usage and their road safety benefits.

Senior Sergeant Helen Barnett graduated in 1977 after three years as a Police Cadet.  She left the service between 1984 and 1995 to work in the private sector before returning.  During her distinguished career with the Queensland Police Service she has worked in various positions including general duties, Brisbane Mobile Patrols, Breath Analysis Section, Regional Education and Training and for an extended period as the Metropolitan North Region, Regional Crime Prevention Coordinator (RCPC). As RCPC she was instrumental in adopting a strong community engagement and safety framework, developing a number of crime prevention and reduction strategies throughout the region.  Her outstanding commitment, passion and dedication to improving community safety has also since been demonstrated through her contribution as Officer-in-Charge of the Sandgate Police Division for the past seven years.


Senior Sergeant Julie Cooling graduated from the Police Academy in 1984 and worked in a wide range of policing areas before being promoted to Officer in Charge of Toowoomba District Juvenile Aid Bureau. She gained a reputation for her attention to detail, dogged determination and passion in child protection.  In August 2009, Senior Sergeant Cooling was appointed to the role of Officer in Charge, Toowoomba Police Communications Centre. Senior Sergeant Cooling is acknowledged for her service to the community in Queensland through her dedication to providing quality client service experiences to frontline police officers and the Toowoomba community. She was instrumental in improving client service standards within the Toowoomba District by making significant improvements to policing strategies and has sought to enhance service delivery based, among other policing priorities, on community needs and expectations.

Senior Sergeant Sonia Smith commenced with the Queensland Police Service on 25 January 1993 and has served within remote and coastal communities across north Queensland for most of her service. In 2001 Senior Sergeant Smith commenced work in the Far North Drug Squad in her first investigative role. In 2008 Senior Sergeant Smith was promoted to a leadership role as Detective Sergeant in the Mount Isa Criminal Investigation Branch. She has demonstrated her skills as a highly proficient investigator, particularly in the challenging remoteness of the Mount Isa District. Senior Sergeant Smith is highly regarded for her leadership skills, role model and mentor, particularly for female officers working in remote policing.  Senior Sergeant Smith was promoted to the rank of Senior Sergeant in 2013 as the Professional Practice Manager for the Mount Isa and Darling Downs Districts.

Sign up to the Queensland Police News myPolice blog to receive updates from your local police.