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'Humanity' the key for award-winning officer

Written by Margot Taylor
on May 02, 2024

On paper First Constable Stephanie Knell is a member of Victoria Police and a qualified lawyer.

But it is a characteristic which we are all capable of exhibiting which she says influences her work the most.

“At the end of the day I am just a person, trying to do my best like most people are,” Const Knell says.


“When I speak to offenders I try to go in really soft and have that humanity and deescalate as much as I need to.”

Having been accepted into the Victoria Police Academy two weeks after graduating with a law degree in 2020, Const Knell’s compassionate approach to policing is already award-winning.

Const Knell is the ‘Glen Waverley Police Member of the Year’.

Her professionalism, leadership, commitment, and teamwork led to her receiving the most votes in the competition decided by Glen Waverley Police sergeants and sponsored by Ryman Healthcare.

“I was speechless when it was announced,” she says.

“I’d worked really hard, and it was really nice to be recognised.”

Const Knell is the first female officer to win the award since Ryman began sponsoring it in 2020.

“The award was actually something my boss had previously spoken to me about and I kept it in the back of my mind and really put in a lot of work towards it,” Const Knell says.

“I am really grateful to Ryman Healthcare for sponsoring an award that recognises hard work and motivates people.”

Const Knell’s role has involved everything from helping during flooding in rural Victoria to patrolling borders during COVID-19.

“There are all sorts of opportunities in policing, but I think a lot of the really hard work frontline police do like being first on scene at fatalities, really quite confronting jobs, can be forgotten,” she says.

“But most of the time, even when people are having their worst day, we get a lot of respect, even often from people we are arresting!”

Const Knell says her experiences prior to joining the force help her to build rapport with the public.

“I travelled a lot and basically worked full time before I joined and I think those experiences have helped me to be able to talk to people from all walks of life,” she says.

“And while I have never practised law, I do incorporate it into my work with Victoria Police.”

As part of the Ryman Healthcare ‘Glen Waverley Police Member of the Year’ award Const Knell was given $2000 to donate to a charity of her choice.

During a special presentation at Nellie Melba Retirement Village, attended by Const Knell’s parents, the donation was made to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.


(From left) Const Steph Knell, Make-A-Wish Partner Experience Coordinator Maddison Collins and Ryman Healthcare General Manager Sales-Victoria Debra Richardson.


The charity grants life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.

“I love children and Make-A-Wish is a gorgeous charity which makes a difference for children who really need it,” she says.

Make-A-Wish Australia say the donation is invaluable.

As a charity that receives no government funding, Make-A-Wish Australia relies on a community of supporters to help make inspirational wishes happen for critically ill children across Australia,” they say.

“Nearly 40 years of experience creating life-changing wishes, along with a growing body of international research, shows that wishes work to complement a child’s medical treatment and have the power to positively impact the lives of sick kids, their families, and the wider community.”

While Const Knell hopes to become a detective one day, her motivation will remain the same.

“Sometimes you get a victim or a member of the public who you know you’ve helped,” she says.

“I cherish those moments and they will always be what motivates me.”

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