As part of WA Police's commitment to making the state's police force more culturally diverse, a group of 40 cadets from Perth travelled to Northam to learn more about Indigenous culture at the Bilya Koort Boodja Centre last week.
The group, accompanied by former Northam local and WA Police Academy acting-principal Steve Post, toured the facility, visited culturally significant sights around the town and heard from local elders.
Mr Post said the visit aligned with WA Police's focus and priority of strengthening the relationship between police and Aboriginal communities.
"It's important for our up and coming police officers to have that good understanding and visiting this centre gives us that opportunity," he said.
"What we find is very beneficial for the cadets is to get some cultural experience and immerse them in local culture.
"When I found out about this centre I was excited about getting them up here and giving them that experience.
"We also have 10 cadets who are from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
"The more diverse we can make our police force, the better it represents our communities."
Wheatbelt district superintendent Tony Colfer said he was glad to see the use of the Bilya Koort Boodja Centre for the use of cultural education extend to the cadet program.
"My aim as the district's superintendent is to sell the cultural centre," he said.
"It is important that all police officers are able to come up and experience the history.
"I have worked in regional WA for the past 20 years and never seen anything like it.
"I'm encouraging staff from around the state to come up and respect the history."
Superintendent Colfer said officers around the Wheatbelt were trained in cultural practices when they moved to the district.
"Our induction package for the Wheatbelt district includes information about the Ballardong people," he said.
"It is important for officers working in our communities to understand the culture so that when they are dealing with people they understand where they have come from a bit better.
"We're all part of the community and it is important to break down those barriers."
Mr Post said he hoped that the visit encouraged cadets to consider a policing placement within the Wheatbelt.
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