MILDURA police First Constable Megan Hammond has enjoyed a rather unique career journey, with becoming a member of Victoria Police far from her original goals.
The latest local copper to be featured in the Mildura Weekly’s ‘On the Beat’ series, First Const. Hammond – a Mildura girl born and bred – spent her early years dominating the sporting field, while also harbouring a goal to pass on her skills and knowledge as a teacher.
“Growing up I played a lot of sport, and I was a member of clubs, as were my parents and grandfather,” First Const. Hammond said. “My main sporting focus was softball, where I represented South Australia for a couple of years.”
First Const. Hammond is a former Chaffey Secondary College and Mildura Senior College alumni, with her prowess on the sporting field seeing her represent both schools in softball and netball.
It was also during her secondary school days that First Const. Hammond began focusing more on the school environment while displaying leadership skills, enjoying a stint as school vice-captain at Chaffey, while being a member of the Student Representative Council at Mildura Senior College.
“I believe these involvements, and the relationships that I developed with the teaching staff, shaped my decision to become a teacher,” she said.
First Const. Hammond made the move to the University of Ballarat following her Year 12 studies, where she studied a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology).
While at university she continued to demonstrate her prowess on the sporting field, representing the University at the Australian University Games in softball, while competing in Perth, Adelaide, Geelong and New Castle.
“Once I completed my Bachelor degree, I enrolled in a Diploma of Education at La Trobe Bendigo,” First Const. Hammond said. “During my studies I completed my teaching rounds at Red Cliffs Secondary College and Chaffey Secondary College.
“I applied for a position at Manangatang P12 College and taught a variety of subjects including psychology, home economics, health, computers and mathematics.”
After three years working as a teacher, First Const. Hammond decided that she needed “more of a challenge.”
“I also wanted to be closer to family and friends, so I headed back to Mildura Senior College to teach psychology, health and VCAL,” she said. “During my time at the College, I took a year off to travel around Australia.
“During my travels I did some relief teaching in Cooktown, Hopevale, Cairns and Darwin, and then came back to the Mildura Senior College with some new skills and a renewed passion for teaching.”
This renewed passion for teaching, however, proved short-lived.
“I felt that I was not being challenged enough, and the monotony of teaching had taken over the passion, so I decided on a career change,” First Const. Hammond said. “I had a number of friends that had joined the Police Force, and were all able to return to Mildura, so I thought, ‘Why not give it a go’.”
It was a Friday in October 2015 that First Const. Hammond officially resigned from Mildura Senior College.
The following Monday she started at the Victorian Police Academy.
“The entire process, including going back to studying, was daunting, and I had moments of thinking, ‘What am I doing?’” First Const. Hammond said.
“I persevered and pushed myself through, and even continued to play softball in Melbourne on weekends, and had some great supportive friends that I met at the Academy.
“I got through the Academy and Melbourne life, before returning to Mildura to begin my new life.”
First Const. Hammond said that since beginning life ‘on the beat’ almost four years ago, she’s had the chance to work in a range of positions, including general duties in Mildura, Red Cliffs, and even Ouyen.
“I have also worked in the Community Engagement Unit, with my teaching background enabling me to transfer a lot of skills over to policing,” she said. “I thoroughly enjoyed the community policing aspect in the unit.
“I attended the Massive Murray River Paddle with six Mildura youth, I ran the Junior Neighbourhood Watch Program at Sacred Heart Primary School, and have attended a number of other local schools and given presentations, as well as presenting in the local community.
“I am now pursuing a career in road policing and have joined the Highway Patrol Unit. I still have a lot to learn, as legislation is forever changing, so you are always learning and upskilling, as with all parts of policing.”
First Constable Hammond said that the best part of her job is that no two days are ever the same.
“You get to work with a variety of other people, and are constantly learning new skills from each other,” she said. “But most of all I am out and about in the Mildura community.”