An Illawarra police officer and civilian employee have been acknowledged for their dedication to the community.
They are among thirty NSW Police Force employees announced as finalists for the prestigious 2019 Rotary Clubs of NSW, Police Officer of the Year awards.
Wollongong's Senior Constable Michael Crooks has been nominated for the Customer Service Excellence Award while Glen Sutherland, who works out of Lake Illawarra station, is up for Employee of the Year and the Irene Juergens Fellowship Award in the unsworn category.
Mr Sutherland said he did not do his job to get awards but nevertheless was honoured and grateful for the recognition.
"The nomination is hard to accept but it is a privilege that someone has noticed the work I do and nominated me," he said.
Mr Sutherland has been the Aboriginal community liaison officer for Lake Illawarra for the past four years and works to build rapport between police, Aboriginal people and the wider community.
"I build programs that aim to divert Aboriginal youth from crime and the judicial system," he said.
Mr Sutherland works with a range of community services such as the Koori Men's Support Group, Wollongong Corrective Services, the Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Centre and Warrigal Employment, to deliver the programs.
"I help with the Fit for Life and PCYC Rise Up programs," he said.
"I also run the Brothers Against Domestic Violence program in association with the Illawarra Koori Men's Support Group where Aboriginal men discuss their domestic violence issues and how to have better relationships and self-esteem.
"Another program is called Koori Smart where Corrective Services helps Aboriginal people complete their parole orders."
Mr Sutherland said his work was important to him and he wanted to help Aboriginal people because they were a minority group and over-represented in the prison system.
He said it was important that everyone in the community worked together to feel safe.
The Employee of the Year award recognises the outstanding commitment of civilian employees and the Irene Juergens Fellowship Award recognises outstanding individual contributions to community-based policing by sworn and unsworn employees, acknowledging those who demonstrate a personal commitment to engagement and crime prevention.
The Customer Service Excellence Award recognises exceptional customer service provided to members of the community, and those police who contribute to the overall customer service policy by their involvement in communications, problem solving and innovation.
The category winners and overall Police Officer of the Year will be announced in Sydney on Friday.