The thousands of teenagers – and their nervous parents – who first arrived Qudos Bank Arena Vaccination Centre could take extra comfort thanks to the presence of the NSW Police Youth Command.
Acting Inspector Lucas Cameron headed the team of officers who were highly-visible and on hand to provide safety and reassurance while the Year 12 students got their first and second doses.
“This is a difficult time in the lives of these young people. They’re going through a tough year as it is with the HSC, which all of us can remember, then to be dealing with COVID on top of that is really hard,” Lucas said.
“I remember speaking to one girl who looked very anxious leaving her mum. To reassure her and see her look a little more at ease reinforced to me that what we do is of value. Anything we can do help assist young people through the process here just gives them one less thing to worry about.
“As a parent myself, I know when I’m dropping my kids off anywhere I want the best for them and want them to be safe. Knowing the police are there and easy to find provides that reassurance to parents too.”
Lucas originally worked in youth and social work before joining the NSW Police Force, where he has now served for over 20 years.
His career has come full circle through his current role with the Youth Command.
“Our charter is solely to help young people – to provide safety for young people and proactive engagement. The staff here have really embraced that opportunity to engage with young people and their parents,” the Acting Inspector said.
“Working with our partners in Health here at Qudos Bank Arena is just as gratifying as anything I’ve done in my career and providing that direct service to the community.”
Asked who or what had impressed him most about the operations at the state’s largest vaccination centre, two answers came to mind.
“I’m very impressed by Emma [McCahon, executive director] and the District’s staff in the way they got this place up and running smoothly,” Lucas said.
“And I’m impressed by every young person who attends here, knowing they’re going through the hardest year of their lives and doing their best to get through it.”