As well as Chris Ahern Officer in Charge at Palm Beach who will be informing us on everything that’s happening in our area with regards to policing on the Southern end of the Gold Coast – the good and the bad, we are now pleased to announce that we will also have a second speaker from Pol-Air to talk about how Police Helicopters are used and deployed on the Gold Coast. Senior Constable Rob Finlay is a Tactical Flight Officer in the Gold Coast Helicopter Support Unit. Rob will be able to give us an interesting insight into how the use of Helicopters has improved Policing on the Gold Coast since their trial use was commenced in 2011.

Chris Ahern's Personal Bio

In 1991, at the age of 17, Chris began his police recruit training at the Queensland Police Service (QPS) academy. On graduating he was posted to the Gold Coast as a general duties patrol officer, rising through the ranks to Detective Sergeant investigating serious crime including homicide, armed robbery, rape, extortion and major fraud activities.

Keen to diversify his experience, Chris transferred to Brisbane where he was appointed team leader responsible for investigating paedophilia, organised crime (drug and firearms trafficking, money laundering activities) and corruption. This period included a secondment to the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC). For involvement in the prosecution of the first case in Australia of procuring a child via the internet for sexual exploitation, Chris received the CMC Chairperson’s Award for Investigative Achievement. He was also awarded the QPS Award for excellence in policing operations for the development and application of software to identify paedophiles using the internet to offend against children.

Chris returned to the QPS to head a team responsible for the investigation of the infiltration of illicit drugs into Queensland’s 13 correctional facilities. In his current role as Senior Sergeant, Officer in Charge of Palm Beach Police Division, he is in command of 40 officers and responsible for the delivery of policing services to a population of 50,000 people across a 108 sq kilometre area.

Chris graduated through the Queensland Police Detective Training Program and the Management Development Program. He holds an Advanced Certificate in Policing, Advanced Diploma of Investigative Practices, Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Policing) and an MBA from the Southern Cross University. He is a recipient of the QPS Medal for ethical and diligent service and the National Medal for meritorious service in a police force.

Rob Finlay's Personal Bio

Robert graduated from the Queensland Police Service Academy in 2003 where he was posted to the Gold Coast as a general duties patrol officer working in the rapidly expanding Coomera Division.

Developing an interest in investigations Robert joined the Gold Coast Southern Investigative Group based at the Burleigh Heads Police Station where he was involved in the investigation of serious crime including homicide, armed robberies, rape and drug activities.

Robert was seconded to the Gold Coast Major Crime Squad based at Surfers Paradise station where he was involved in investigating major drug trafficking syndicates involved in the sale and distribution of drugs on the Gold Coast.

Robert was then seconded to the Gold Coast Casino Crime Squad working out of the Jupiter’s Casino in partnership with the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation investigating casino related criminal activities.

In July 2011 based on his background as a rescue crew member with the SLSQ Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter service, Robert was seconded to the Queensland Police Service and Gold Coast City Council Helicopter trial. Robert researched and developed the standard of operations, conducted training of all Tactical Flight Officers and managed daily operations for this trial.

In 2012 the helicopter commenced operations as a permanent section of the Queensland Police Service where Robert continues to work today on flight operations.

In 2009 Robert prevented a person from committing suicide by setting himself alight in a petrol station at Broadbeach for which he was awarded the Commissioners Certificate of Notable Action by the then Commissioner Bob Atkinson APM and a Royal Humane Society Certificate of Merit by the Governor of Queensland Penelope Wensley AC.

Robert has graduated through the Queensland Police Detective Training Program. He holds a Diploma of Public Safety (Policing), Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Police Investigation) and a Bachelor of Policing from Charles Sturt University. He is a recipient of the QPS Medal for ethical and diligent service and the National Medal.


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