Police Officers – Our History
In 1838, South Australian Governor Sir John Hindmarsh proclaimed the first centrally administered police service in Australia, which comprised of 10 foot and 10 mounted constables. Since that historic day, SAPOL has grown, yet our motto reflects the same aim – Keeping SA Safe.
Although tradition has been prominent throughout SAPOL’s history, our reputation for achievement has undoubtedly been forged by the thousands of past and present police employees who have committed to serving the people of South Australia.
Preventing crime and upholding the law, the abilities of our police have been honed through extensive training at our Fort Largs Police Academy. Over the years thousands of SAPOL members have been trained to the highest standards and our Police Academy is well regarded among training providers and partner agencies for the integrity and quality of its training.
Historically SAPOL has also played a major role in South Australia’s emergency planning and response operations. Over the years, lives and property have been saved as a result of the rescue efforts of local police and those attached to the highly trained Special Task and Rescue (STAR) Group. As well as responding to major incidents STAR Operations Section, Water Operations Unit and Dog Operations Unit members have regularly found themselves in high-risk situations, including air, land or sea searches and rescues to save the lives of others.
In recent times SAPOL has focused on crime reduction and service delivery at a local level. Introduced in 1998, our 14 Local Service Areas (LSAs) work closely with their own communities to develop and implement joint initiatives to solve local problems.
Our vision of being highly regarded as a modern, motivated, progressive and professional organisation, responsive to the community’s needs and expectations was developed in 1997 to reflect renewed emphasis on accountability for service delivery. Although it would have meant little to those 10 foot and 10 mounted constables when they were appointed back in 1838, the vision is supported by SAPOL’s history, which highlights that community needs will always change over time. While it is ultimately up to the community to judge our ongoing performance, the vision reflects pride in seeking to be highly regarded and building a reputation for excellence.