Donna Adams appointed as Tasmania’s first female police commissioner

Donna Adams has been appointed Tasmania’s first female police commissioner, after 35 years on the force.

The highest-ranking woman in Tasmania’s 125-year history of policing began her career as a constable aged 19.

Commissioner Adams said she felt “privileged” and “honoured” to be the 15th person to take on the role of commissioner.

“It’s an extremely proud moment for me, and I’m really looking forward to making some positive changes,” she said.

“This is not a job I thought I would get when I joined the Tasmanian Police in 1987 straight out of school.

“Actually, I only had a very simple ambition to join the narcotics squad, and it turns out that it was an ambition that I didn’t achieve.”

Commissioner Adams has previously said that she vastly outnumbered the men when she started on the force.

“When I first went to Bellerive CIB (Criminal Investigation Branch) in 1990, I had to share a toilet with the men and I had my name on the first stall,” she said.

In 2009, she became the first woman promoted to the rank of commander, before becoming the state’s first female deputy commissioner last year.

Prime Minister Jeremy Rockliff (right) described Commissioner Adams as ‘a highly competent professional’.(ABC News: Maren Preuss)

Emphasize “return to basic policing”

Throughout her career, Commissioner Adams has received several awards, including the Commissioner’s Commendation for her work after the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996, as well as an Australian Police Distinguished Service Medal.

She will succeed Darren Hine, who will retire on October 11 after more than 40 years with Tasmania Police and 14 as police commissioner and department secretary.

Commissioner Adams said she had “a big pair of shoes to fill”.

“Darren [Hine] provided me with exceptional leadership and support over the past 14 years,” she said.

“He transformed Tasmania Police through his inclusive leadership.”

The 54-year-old said she would focus on getting “policing back to basics” in the wake of the pandemic and that “prevention and disruption” would also be a key issue.

“Now is the time to refocus on high-visibility policing and ensure that we have a strong focus on local policing issues in local communities,” she said.

“We must do everything we can to prevent damage before it happens, we must do everything we can to prevent victims from being victimized again.”

Prime Minister Jeremy Rockliff said the significance of his appointment may be “understated”.

“Donna is a highly skilled professional who is well placed to provide exceptional leadership to Tasmania Police and the community,” he said.

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