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Esther Mckay

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Crime Scene
Ester McKay  More Info

About the New South Wales Police Force

In August 1789, Governor Arthur Phillip established the first civilian police force in Australia.  The New South Wales (NSW) Police Force was established by the Police Regulation Act 1862, which was replaced by the Police Regulation Act 1899. In June 1987, the NSW Police Force (operations) and the NSW Police Department (policy and administrative support) were amalgamated and formalized by the Police Act 1990 No. 47, which, as amended, is the legislation governing the organization.


The NSW Police Force is Australia's oldest and largest police organization and one of the biggest in the English speaking world.  It has 17,000 employees, including more than 13,300 police officers.  The police officers serve a population of seven million in the state of New South Wales, an 801,600 square kilometer area comparable in size to Texas, and double the combined geographic areas of England, Scotland and Wales.  The New South Wales Police Force operates on land, sea and from the air; and, provides community based policing from more than 500 police stations to a wide range of ethnic communities speaking more than 30 languages.





Crime Scene by Esther McKay


As the editor of Police-Writers.com and a retired police officer turned author I have occasion to read a lot of books written by police officers.  Through the website I was contacted by former New South Wales (Australia) Police Officer Esther McKay; and, ultimately received a copy of her book.  What I received was a well-written memoir of a crime scene investigator.


What struck at first is that cop work is cop; it doesn’t matter if you are walking my former beat in downtown Los Angeles or riding in McKay’s crime scene investigator’s truck.  To mimic Jack Webb, “the stories are true, only the locations have changed.”  Riding along in McKay’s journey you will find out that our Aussie brothers and sisters definitely have a language of their own; indeed, just as cops have our own “secret” language, McKay adds “witches hats,” “ambros” and “Salvos” to the lexicon of the international police slang.

Esther McKay served in the New South Wales (NSW) Police Force (Australia) for seventeen years, attaining the rank of Detective (technical) Senior Constable. She worked in Forensic Services for fifteen years, specializing in crime-scene examination and vehicle identification. She has a Diploma of Applied Science in Forensic Investigation (NSW Police) and was awarded the National Medal of service in 2001. Esther Mckay retired in 2001 after becoming medically unfit with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


Esther Mckay is the president of the Police Post Trauma Support group; and, a strong advocate for improving the mental health conditions for both active and retired law enforcement officials.  She is the author of the Australian bestseller Crime Scene. 


Esther Mckay said of Crime Scene, “it is an autobiographical account of my work as a Crime Scene Examiner and the gradual onset of PTSD due to the constant exposure to trauma.  Day after day my life was consumed by killings, distress and gruesome sites, each one adding another piece to an ever-growing mosaic that seemed to be made up of bloodied disposable gloves, plastic bags and human waste.”


According to the book description, “When Esther McKay, an idealistic young constable with the NSW police, entered the tough, male-dominated world of forensic investigation, she was determined to hold her own. She soon found herself at deeply confronting crime scenes, often working alone and without supervision. After years of long, lonely, exhausting days and nights, and following a particularly harrowing high-profile case involving the disappearance of two young boys, Esther had a break-down and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. This is Esther's story. Powerful, moving and unforgettable, Crime Scene takes us inside the life of a forensic investigator, and reveals as never before the extraordinary demands and dangers of forensic work.”

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