Fresh faces are taking command

Plans: Victoria Police’s Eastern Region Commander Karen Nyholm and Eastern Region Assistant Commissioner Tony Langdon. photograph supplied

Alyssa Fritzlaff

VICTORIA Police’s new Eastern Division Assistant Commissioner and Commander have begun their roles with a strong community focus.

Assistant Commissioner Tony Langdon and Commander Karen Nyholm were freshly appointed to their roles in late 2021.

They both bring a wealth of experience to their new positions.

Commissioner Langdon is the former Commander of the Southern Region and has worked in a number of policing fields, including the Armed Robbery and Homicide Squads.

He also was the Divisional Commander for the Surveillance Services Division.

Similarly, Commander Nyholm has a career spanning 29 years and has worked in major fraud investigations, in court prosecutions and coronial support.

The pair share a passion for policing and look forward to leading the Eastern Division in 2022.

The region has a total of 17 Police Service Areas, protecting almost two million people and overseeing 3000 police members stationed in the area.

In a region spanning across vastly different areas and diverse communities with varying
needs, Assistant Commissioner Langdon said police having a connection with the community they serve is extremely important.

“We are nothing if we aren’t listening to community, as we are part of the community,” he said.

“For me, community connection – being part of the community – and being a positive influence in relation not only to helping respond to risk but also in leadership is one of the critical reasons why we are here.

The Assistant Commissioner said the Eastern Division’s emergency service response is another priority this year.

He feels the region’s officers are well-prepared.

“I’m quite comfortable to say our members, especially down your area (Morwell) are extremely well versed in emergency responses and are extremely well connected to our pro-agencies in responding to this,” he said.

“In preparation for this summer, we went through a training phase and we go through an assurance program to say that Victoria Police is actually prepared for upcoming summer events

“We are really well prepared in relation to that, and we are mainly well prepared because we are so well coordinated with our partner emergency management agencies and linked into community.”

Other areas of focus for the region’s leadership include road safety and family violence.
Commander Nyholm grew up in the Eastern Region and worked in Morwell at one point in her career.

She said that although the area has changed since her service, she possesses some extra understanding of the area’s challenges.

Latrobe Valley has high crime rates, and Commander Nyholm said a significant portion
of this is driven by family violence. However, she explained that in some ways this is a good thing. It means that crimes of this nature are being reported, rather than flying under the radar.

“In Morwell, people have a connection – typically – to the police. When people are involved with the police, it’s more likely that they will then disclose further things to police,” she explained.

“A lot of those data sets in Moe, Morwell is also family violence driven… there’s not more family violence that happens in Shepparton, Moe, Morwell or Camberwell or Canterbury.

There might be differences in the socio-economic background of people, but family violence doesn’t care for dollar.

“In a lower socio-economic areas they’re not as materialistic. Having a connection with the police provides an immediate opportunity to come forward… the fact is, if we know it’s happening we are one step toward addressing it,” she said.