IT was the rainbow flag on the wall at Sunshine Police Station that proved the circuit-breaker.

An irate man was venting his frustrating in the station’s foyer after being pulled over for a breath test.

“It’s routine to breath test people at a traffic stop but he felt he’d been singled out because he was transgender and so was charged with refusing a breath test,” First Constable Jack Bosnjak, a LGBTI liaison officer (GLLO) said.

“He’d come in to make a complaint and was getting aggressive then he saw the rainbow flag a colleague and I had put up and said ‘I want to speak to the person who put that up’.”

Const Bosnjak spent more than three hours with the man and was able to refer him to a number of legal and health support services.

“It was really rewarding to help him through a crisis,” he said.

“He started talking and the floodgates opened, he’d had issues with drugs and alcohol, mental health concerns and been homeless for a period.

“He had a bad experience with police in Alice Springs but said after seeing the flag for the first time he felt like he could trust the police.”

Const Bosnjak kept in touch with the man and his partner and when he was arrested again Const Bosnjak was able to talk him through the process.

“He didn’t want to be searched, which is standard procedure, and I was able to explain to him that he could choose who did the search as he was feeling very vulnerable,” he said.

“The GLLO program is not about special treatment or making charges disappear but about being understanding.”

Const Bosnjak, who has been at Sunshine Police Station for the past 2.5 years, said more than 80 per cent of his work as a GLLO was proactive – attending events, building rapport and helping with crime prevention – but reactive work – supporting and assisting people – was especially fulfilling and made him proud to be a police officer.

“We try to do regular night patrols of local beats to engage with the men who use them and make sure it’s a safe environment and offer crime prevention advice and instil the importance of reporting crimes,” he said.

“Whether it’s a big or a small matter, we’re here to help.”

Victoria Police is recruiting more than 3000 officers and Const Bosnjak encouraged people to consider a career that made a real difference.

“Pursuing a career in law enforcement is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling occupations you can possibly undertake,” he said.

“I would thoroughly recommend this career path to anybody who wants to have a positive impact upon their community, and to those who strive for integrity and justice.

“Victoria Police embraces diversity, and values its people; I am proud to serve as a police officer, and to be a part of an organisation which embodies equality, respect and pride.”

Reach out to your local LGBTI Liaison Officer (GLLO) on 9247 6944 or melbourne.gllo@police.vic.gov.au.

Be a force for good and join Victoria Police. For more information or to apply visit: www.policecareer.vic.gov.au.

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