Wellington was front and centre in national conversation on Tuesday night after episode two of the ABC series Ice Wars went to air.
The town’s methamphetamine problem was highlighted prominently in the one-hour episode, which focused on the drug’s move into regional areas.
Filmed back in 2015, the episode also featured stories from Nowra and Lismore but focused primarily on the town that has been dubbed ‘Little Antarctica’ in some circles.
We were taken behind the scenes in a high-visibility operation aimed at taking dealers off the streets.
“I’d seen the episode before but the response since it aired has been phenomenal,” said Senior Sergeant Simon Madgwick, who was Wellington sector supervisor at the time of filming.
“What people saw last night is stuff that isn’t sighted very often by the public, as far as the planning and the work that goes into it.
“What we were doing that night was real policing work that gets done every day, the only difference was that we had a camera crew with us.”
I was really proud that it showed what can be done with community interaction, both with the Gungie Origin and also the Dob In A Dealer program.
The impact of the high-visibility operation could be seen in how quiet the known troublemakers in town were while officers were patrolling.
But given a small window of time, it didn’t take long for trouble to brew and a known dealer named Kylie was brought to viewers’ attention.
“That is what it is like, and why policing needs to be unrelenting,” Snr Sgt Madgwick said.
“While we were visible they went to ground, when we took a bit of time for a meal break they came back out.”
The episode finished with a segment on the implementation of the Gungie Origin rugby league series, a community initiative driven by Aboriginal liaison officer Zeke Shaw and the Orana Local Area Command and supported by boxer Anthony Mundine.
“I was really proud that it showed what can be done with community interaction, both with the Gungie Origin and also the Dob In A Dealer program,” Snr Sgt Madgwick said.
“Police can’t fight this war on ice alone. We need the community engagement and help