Lowood officer shares Queen's Baton Relay rundown
DEALING with an Indigenous protest, difficult crowd members and a "mooner” was all in 100 days work for Queen's Baton Relay Asset Protection Officer, Steve Armstrong-Ravula.
The Lowood Constable trained for months leading up to the task of running and biking alongside each batonbearer as it travelled down the coast from Tamworth to Batemans' Bay.
"The experience was a lot of fun, but it was also very hard work,” Const Armstrong-Ravula said.
"Our team had ear pieces in, and I tell you there was a lot going on. You are trying to have a smile and give a high-five while being wary of a lot of people.”
But it was when the team passed through Fortitude valley on March 31, Const Armstrong-Ravula showed Australia just how tight the security surrounding the baton was.
"I gave this guy a high five and I was wondering why he wasn't walking back to his friends at the bar,” he said.
"I kept my eye on him and then he just pulled his pants down.
"He was facing the wrong way for the camera though. It was all over the news.”
Const Armstrong-Ravula grabbed the offender and took him down an adjoining street where he waited for the Intervention Team to take over. The man was handcuffed, searched and fined $400 for being a public nuisance.
"I was pretty disappointed because it had gone all the way around Australia then that happened,” he said.
"The mooning was annoying but we did see the funny side... and he was dealt with accordingly.”
Const Armstrong-Ravula said the highlight was running the baton into Surfers Paradise the day before the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony
"There were thousands of people,” he said.
"It was quite amazing and probably the most fun I've had in my career.
"The pressure was really on and we had a lot going on in our ears - some people were being quite difficult - we had issues all around but we had a lot of fun while dealing with them. That day we ran 31 kilometres, we didn't realise, we just kept running and biking and enjoying the experience.”
He said the biggest challenge the team faced was avoiding an Indigenous protest on the Spit in Surfers Paradise on the day of the Opening Ceremony.
"That set us back two hours," Const Armstrong-Ravula said.
"Throughout the whole 100 days the baton was on time to the minute... until the 100th day.
"It was quite impressive.”
A total of 160 Queensland police officers applied to make the Asset Protection Team for the Queens Baton Relay and Constable Steve Armstrong-Ravula was among the 24 hand-selected.
"I'm super proud and I'm thankful I sacrificed a few things to be fit for it,” he said.
"Because I enjoyed that so much I think Dignitary protection would be a nice avenue to look in too.”