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26 January 2024, 7:53am
Media Release

Three AFP officers recognised in the Australia Day 2024 Honours List

Three AFP officers have been recognised with one of the highest awards in policing in this year’s Australia Day Honours List.

Commander Melinda Phelan, Detective Inspector Peter Dean and Detective Leading Senior Constable Katherine Laidler will each receive an Australian Police Medal (APM) for their achievements across a range of AFP operational areas.

The Australian Police Medal is awarded for distinguished service by a member of an Australian police force.

AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw APM congratulated the officers and thanked them for their unwavering commitment to protecting Australians.

“These three officers have exemplified the mission of the AFP and could not be more deserving of this outstanding achievement. I commend them for their work and thank them for their dedication to protecting their fellow Australians,” Commissioner Kershaw said.

“Commander Melinda Phelan this year celebrates 30 years in the AFP, with a career spanning across Australia and overseas. She has been instrumental in working with national and international law enforcement agencies to successfully disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal syndicates in Counter Terrorism and Serious and Organised Crime.

“Detective Inspector Peter Dean will also celebrate a milestone this year, having served for almost 20 years. He is a respected leader and an expert in a diverse range of fields, from Special Investigations to Espionage and Foreign Interference.   

“Detective Leading Senior Constable Katherine Laidler has led a long and varied career within the AFP and currently performs one of the most challenging roles within the AFP, the Child Protection Victim Identification team. She has undertaken this role with tenacity, resilience and perseverance, providing a human face to a role few could perform.”

Commander Melinda Phelan has been a member of the AFP since 1994 and has worked across Australia in AFP’s Western, Southern and Northern Commands as well as the Australian Embassy in the Philippines and at AFP Headquarters in Canberra.  

Since 2020, Commander Phelan has performed the role of Commander of Pacific, International Command. She has extensive experience in the international policing environment, having performed the role of superintendent responsible for the Asia and America, Middle East and Europe desks as well as the Police Partnership Programs in the International Command.

Detective Inspector Peter Dean joined the AFP in 2004 and after recruit training posted to ACT Policing as a general duties officer. He joined Special Investigations in 2013 where he led some of the AFP’s most complex and politically sensitive investigations.

Detective Inspector Dean is widely recognised as the AFP subject matter expert on a broad range of issues including parliamentary privilege, unauthorised disclosures, press freedoms, public interest disclosure, the National Security Information Act, sanctions and sensitive investigations.

Detective Leading Senior Constable Katherine Laidler began with the AFP in 1999, starting out in AFP Southern Command where she worked in Operations, Airport and Avian teams. In 2002, Detective Leading Senior Constable Laidler transferred to ACT Policing where she worked in Tuggeranong Station areas including the Child Abuse team and Sexual Assault Reform Program.

Since 2016, Detective Leading Senior Constable Laidler has worked in the Child Protection Victim Identification team where she has been instrumental in achieving outcomes protecting children from harm and identifying offenders.

The Australia Day Achievement Medallion (ADAM) has been awarded to 39 AFP members across a range of portfolios. The ADAM recognises the significant contribution to the public sector by dedicated employees.

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