Carpe Diem for Commander Buggy

December 20, 2017

Former Corowa High School student Commander Kate Buggy standing next to her plaque on the Carpe Diem Wall of Honour in Corowa High School’s front office.

Commander Kate Buggy has joined the likes of Olympian golfer Marcus Fraser and former NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Michael Corboy on Corowa High School’s Carpe Diem Wall of Honour.

The wall acknowledges past students who have ‘seized the day’ through making a positive contribution to their community and achieving to the highest level in their chosen endeavour.
Commander Buggy said she had butterflies in her stomach while walking into the school last Wednesday to accept the award during the school’s presentation day assembly, but told the Free Press it was great to be back in her home town and see many familiar faces.
“I was very nervous but it’s exciting as well, I am pretty excited to talk to the kids,” she said.
One high school staff member gave the Commander a huge smile and commented that Buggy had “not changed one bit”.
Commander Buggy has enjoyed a decorated career after joining the Australian Federal Police in January 1987, just two years after graduating from Corowa High.
She became one of the first female officers to pass the search and rescue course and was initially deployed to ACT Policing general duties.
“I knew I wanted to join the police force and go into search and rescue,” she said.
“Australian Federal Police recruitment was very hard, they only take about three per cent of applicants and still to this day it is only about five per cent so it is very competitive.
“They don’t test for fitness or things like that, it’s primarily around leadership and when I joined you had to go through a day where they observed you working with a group and being questioned under pressure.”
Commander Buggy later moved to national crime investigations and worked on a number of task forces.
She completed the close personal protection course, and undertook protection duties when not involved in investigations.
From 1999, she worked in a number of executive staff officer positions, including as staff officer to Commissioner Keelty, and the Law Enforcement Liaison Officer to the Federal Minister for Justice on a number of occasions between 2002 and 2010.
In 2004, she took up a role in counter terrorism, where she was involved in the response to the second Bali bombing and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Commander Buggy was also involved in the planning and execution of a number of Australia-New Zealand counter-terrorism exercises.
In 2006, Commander Buggy was appointed to the role of Manager Ministerial, providing high-level support to the senior executive and office of the Federal Minister for Justice.
In 2008, she moved back to ACT Policing and was given responsibility for reshaping the crime prevention portfolio, where she was awarded a Commissioner’s Commendation for Conspicuous Conduct.
In 2010, Commander Buggy moved back to protection, which later included the role of Co-ordinator for Protection Security Operations.
Commander Buggy is currently working for the Department of Human Services in Canberra where she leads their investigations and works on fraud control.
In her speech at Corowa High School last week Commander Buggy told the audience made up of students, staff and visitors about how she strived to become the best hockey player at the school.
Her coach was Corowa High’s very own David Nancarrow who gave her some important advice, that it was more important to become a team player.
The following year she was awarded best and fairest – not because she was the best player, she wasn’t, but because she was the best team player and played by the rules.
“I have never been the best uniform police officer, I am not the best detective and I was not the best undercover cop. But I am very good at working in a team. I have learned to be a great coach, to bring a team together, identify each person’s strengths and weaknesses and lead them to achieve our goals. You don’t have to be the best to be a great leader,” she told the audience in her speech.

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