Charmaine Leafe is being remembered as a police officer who wanted to help those doing it tough.
Charmaine Leafe is being remembered as a police officer who wanted to help those doing it tough.

‘She wanted to fight’: Tribute to brave mum, veteran cop

THE world according to Charmaine Leafe went something like this - loyalty is everything, compassion is key and giving up is never an option.

The officer in charge of the Loganlea Community Police Beat has been remembered by her family as an empathetic, strong-willed woman who loved a hug and would "back you to the hilt".

Charmaine died after a two-year battle with breast cancer on January 7, just shy of her 50th birthday.

Charmaine Leaf, officer in charge of Loganlea Community Police Beat, died on January 7 after a two-year battle with breast cancer. She is pictured with her husband Michael Leafe, acting inspector with Queensland Police Service.
Charmaine Leaf, officer in charge of Loganlea Community Police Beat, died on January 7 after a two-year battle with breast cancer. She is pictured with her husband Michael Leafe, acting inspector with Queensland Police Service.

Despite her early exit for what her family call Charmaine's "long holiday", the police sergeant packed a lot into her 49 years.

Known to many as Char, she began her working life as a vet nurse before her brother Martin joined the NSW police force.

This ignited Charmaine's competitive nature and spurred her on, at age 28, to begin what had been a lifelong dream of becoming a police officer.

Her first posting in 1998 was to Browns Plains Police Station.

Jimboomba Police Station would later become one of the most important places Charmaine worked, meeting her husband Michael Leafe on the beat while the pair were tracking down a teenage car thief.

Mr Leafe is now an Acting Inspector with the QPS.

Together the pair had three children and travelled around the state including to Ingham, Rockhampton and Ipswich.

Charmaine in 2011 was deployed to the Lockyer Valley to help with the rescue effort following mass flooding in Grantham.

Charmaine and Michael travelled around Queensland, with stints in Ingham, Rockhampton and Ipswich.
Charmaine and Michael travelled around Queensland, with stints in Ingham, Rockhampton and Ipswich.

She worked in Far North Queensland helping communities recover after Tropical Cyclone Yasi and spent seven years' training new recruits at the Queensland Police Service Academy.

Charmaine was one of seven officers to work on Palm Island during the 2004 riots and later became the Officer in Charge of the Logan District Family Violence Unit in 2016.

After 21 years serving the Queensland Police, Charmaine finished her service as she began it - working with the community she loved at Logan.

She originally thought the cancer was bruise, which had formed because of her body-worn camera rubbing against her chest, Mr Leafe explained.

But illness was just another challenge Charmaine was going to face head on.

"Every treatment they offered her she just said: 'Bring it on'. She wanted to fight. She was a massive fighter," Mr Leafe said.

You'd be forgiven for thinking Charmaine had outsmarted the cancer that finally killed her, because even when she was at her worst, colleagues say continued to work from home and check on staff back at the office.

 

Charmaine and Michael Leafe. Picture: Supplied
Charmaine and Michael Leafe. Picture: Supplied

 

 

"She was very strong-willed but she never did it in an overbearing way. She had subtleties about her way of doing things," Simon Mortimer, who worked with Charmaine for many years, said.

"With Charmaine there is no giving up on something.

"She hated bad guys and she hated people taking advantage in our community. She had a real feeling for people who were suffering or having a hard time. She truly hated people being taken advantage of."

Whether she was greeting her colleagues with her signature welcome: "Hello lovely", dishing out a hug or stridently arguing a point, Charmaine did the task with empathy.

"She had a real belief that policing wasn't just a job, and it wasn't to Charmaine," Mr Leafe said.

"It was more than that to her. She believed what we do has a real effect on people.

"She disliked people who just treated it like a job because to her, it was a calling."

Charmaine's funeral will be held on Thursday January 16 at 11am at the Church of Jesus Christ Latterday-Saints on Beenleigh Redland Bay Rd.


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