Bendigo’s Constable Caitlin McAnulty was a trainee at Melbourne West Police Station in January 2017 when police were called to the scene of the Bourke Street killings.
With other officers Constable McAnulty spent a long, hard shift guarding the crime scene while Major Collisions assessed the forensic evidence.
She received a letter of appreciation for her work as a first responder from the assistant commissioner of the Metro police force on Tuesday.
Constable McAnulty was training at the Police Academy in Melbourne, and was stationed at Melbourne West Station the day of the Bourke Street killings.
Constable McAnulty said she was “very proud” to have contributed to policing at such a significant incident.
“It was a pretty confronting scene, even a couple of hours later,” she said.
Constable McAnulty has been stationed at Bendigo on general duties for nearly a year now.
She joined the police aged 23 after completing her degree.
Policing was always something she had wanted to do, but she knew she wanted to go to university first.
Having studied before she joined the police force was a valuable experience, Constable McAnulty said.
A degree helped her develop skills in “self learning” Constable McAnulty said, which were useful during her time at the academy.
After two years in the police force, Constable Caitlin McAnulty absolutely loves it.
“I thought you know what I’ll I’ll give this a go, and I’ve never looked back,” she said.
“I liked the idea of helping people, and the action perceived to be in the job, and the variety.
“I know there’s lots of places you can go in the police and that appealed to me.”
Born and raised in Bendigo, Constable McAnulty returned to work at the station in October of 2017.
Previously she had worked in Craigieburn in Melbourne’s north west.
It’s been interesting for her to see the difference between metropolitan and regional policing.
Each present with different challenges, she said. For instance, police in the Melbourne are presented with many more cultural barriers on a day to day basis than in Bendigo.
Ultimately Bendigo was back where she wanted to be.
“I wanted to come back to regional Victoria,” Constable McAnulty said.
“I’m pretty passionate about regional Victoria and just helping out the Bendigo community, that’s been a part of my life for my entire life.”
At the moment Constable McAnulty is stationed on general duties, which means she can be on the van, or in the watch house.
She enjoys the fast pace and variety of work.
Police on the van respond to triple zero calls, and are first on the scene for everything. At the watch house they spend the day on the phones and the front desk, handling anything and everything.
Policing hasn’t disappointed Constable McAnulty.
“It’s just such a rewarding job,” she said.
“I absolutely love it, it’s been the best decision I ever made, every day is different, you learn so much.”
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.