18 May 2023

Where are they now? Meet former first responder Regan

Regan began as a general duties officer at the Mandurah Police Station in 2011. He served four years in uniform before being seconded to the Mandurah Detectives Office on an Investigative Team, spending a total of 11 years as a first responder. 

“Part of this secondment included a role on a three-month operation targeting some of the ‘best crooks’ in the district. These were some of my fondest memories on the job. At the end of this secondment, I was given another opportunity, this time at the Rockingham Detectives Office on a Burglary Team. After passing my initial Detective exams, my rotations included Rockingham Detectives Office, Fremantle Detective Office, and the Organised Crime Squad. Now this rotation was an absolute blast, again one of the best times I had on the job, and we had some significant results on several organised crime syndicates.  

“From there, I passed my final exams and was given a position back where it all started at the Mandurah Detectives Office on an Investigative Team. About two years later, I was given an opportunity to join a new unit called the Rapid High Harm Offender Response Team. As fun and exciting as the job was still for me, I decided to look at getting out while I was, as some might say, at the top of my game,” said Regan, reminiscing on first responder work. 

When asked about making the difficult decision to leave first responder work, Regan said, “How do you justify to yourself that it is best to leave something you feel you were born to do and loved so much? I looked at and spoke with some guys and girls on the job that were just a little older than I was (around 46 at the time) and that I respected. They were mostly in their mid to late 50s, and almost without fail, they wished they had transitioned out at my age so that they could really entrench themselves into a new career.” 

Regan began researching roles with a suitable background that could provide a new career with longevity. Regan started the process of studying and then applied for roles as a Work Health Safety and Environment Advisor. 

“Without fail, the biggest difficulty is the lie most of us first responder folk believe that our skill set is so unique that we do not have transferrable skills. Wow, was I sure mistaken. The private sector welcomed my skill set with open arms, and I really feel as though I have found a new niche and my next career to see out my working life.” 

During this time, Regan accessed Fortem’s Career Management Program, working to build on an existing resume and cover letter. With the help of the program Regan was able to identify many of the transferrable skills first responders can bring to other sectors. This includes g problem-solving under pressure, resilience, dedication, loyalty, conflict resolution, a can-do attitude, empathy, ethics and many more. 

“This process would have been a much more daunting task if not for my former recruit buddy, Elise Stephens from Fortem Australia. As a former Western Australian Police Officer herself, I knew that she understood the difficulties and complexities of first responder work. Elise and the Fortem team are a major contributing factor that has led me to secure a role I could have only dreamed of some eight months ago.” 

When asked about what advice could be given to first responders who are considering transitioning from service, Regan said, “My advice to anyone looking to transition is to do your research into potential career paths and study. I’ll say it again; study, so that you can value add to your current skill set. I don’t mean just external study but look at ways the job can work for you, giving you specific skills to transition out. Also, if at all possible, look at making the change when you are in a good head space, as I truly believe you shouldn’t make any major life decisions if you are angry or emotional. Again, Fortem is a wealth of knowledge in relation to counselling, both career and general. Take advantage of a fantastic organisation that truly has your best interests at heart.” 

Regan has now secured employment as a Health Safety and Environment in the Northern Goldfields for Qube Ports & Bulk. “I am actually pinching myself that I’ve secured such a great role. They have shown me how good the public sector can be, and the support I have received shows me that I have made the right decision with my next career pathway. So, so blessed.”