WHEN Constable Phillip Richards arrived at Chifley Dam on November 22, 2014, the situation was bleak.
He was responding to reports of a male capsizing a kayak and not resurfacing. Another police officer was on scene duck diving to the bottom of the dam desperately trying to find him.
Donning a wetsuit and life jacket, Const Richards immediately joined the rescue operation, swimming out to the other officer with rescue gear and duck diving into the cold, murky water until darkness fell.
The man was later located, and sadly could not be revived, but Constable Richards' actions on the day, placing the safety of the community above his own, were recognised with a Western Region Commendation, at Chifley Police District's Awards Day, attended by Police Commissioner Michael Fuller, on Thursday.
Constable Richards was one of two officers to receive a commendation; Senior Constable Matthew Gava also received a commendation for bravery during an arrest where a mentally ill man produced a large kitchen knife, and tried to stab the officer during an arrest.
They are just two of many stories of incredible bravery shown by officers who have placed their lives on the line to ensure the safety of the community.
Sergeant Jodi Stewart, received a Western Region Unit Citation for her role in intervening in a suicide attempt by a man in Condobolin, as did Detective Lorna McGowan, for her role in dismantling a large scale drug supply operation in the region.
Sen Const Michael Golding, from Traffic and Highway Patrol, received a Commendation for his efforts in preserving life at an accident, performing CPR on one of the victims, until paramedics arrived.
Other officers were acknowledged for their roles in saving lives across the command, including a number of incidents of attempted self harm, where their intervention saved lives.
Another high point of the award ceremony was announcing the recipient of the Sgt Paul Quinn memorial award.
Senior Constable Philip O'Brien,of Lithgow Station was named the recipient of the award, which is Chifley Police District's highest honour.
In announcing Senior Constable Philip O'Brien's award, MC Inspector David Abercrombie said Sergeant Paul Quinn - who was killed 33 years ago while on duty at Perthville - epitomised everything a police officer should be: courageous, compassionate and devoted to duty.
Inspector Abercrombie said Senior Constable O'Brien was a worthy recipient as an officer focused on operational policing who leads by example in every aspect of his duties.
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