Phil Jacobson, Police Officer, single father, community all-rounder, 2012 Sawtellian of the Year winner and just a great bloke. Here we find out what motivates a man to continue giving to his community.
You’ve had a huge career, a rugby career with the Roosters, joining the Police Force in the early ‘70s, hitting the pavement in King Cross, before being transferred to Coffs Coast in the early ‘80s. Tell us about your outstanding career …
I was born and bred in Narromine, a small town of 3,000, 25 miles west of Dubbo. In 1971 I had an offer to play professional rugby league with the Eastern Suburbs Roosters. Their policy was that you had to have a job if you wanted to play. They were to organise a building apprenticeship, but it fell through, and at 17 years of age I ended up joining the NSW Police Cadets. I was sworn in at 19 years of age and then stationed at Darlinghurst/Kings Cross, playing for the Roosters.
I was part of the Roosters that very successful year, under Jack Gibson. The first grade won in 1974 and 1975. We were undefeated and won the under 23 premiership in 1976.
In 1977, I fractured discs in my back and was told that I would never play contact sport again. After extensive rehabilitation, I commenced playing again in 1978, and later that year I transferred to Cobar, a wonderful western town with great people.
In 1983 I transferred to Sawtell and have been in the area as a Police Officer ever since. I have the luxury of living on the coast, but can visit family who live on properties and in Forbes and Cobar.
I have worked as a general duties Police Officer, an Intelligence Officer and at the present time as the Domestic Violence Liaison Officer. I am going into my 42nd year, and currently I’m in the process of retiring.
Policing is a very unique and rewarding job and one of the few careers where you get to make a difference. It’s also a job where you are required to make tough and unpopular decisions. However, the majority of the community appreciate the job we do.
Your involvement in the community is very honourable. What are you involved in at the moment?
I am currently involved with the Sawtell Surf Life Saving Club and Sawtell Rugby League.
New Year’s Day saw you take out the Sawtellian of the Year Award. How exciting!
I was surprised and very honoured to be chosen as the Sawtellian of the Year. I am well aware of a great number of people within our community who also deserve this honour. Volunteers and their work go a very long way to making Sawtell the wonderful community it is.
What do you regard are your biggest achievements?
My number one biggest achievement is that I’m a dad to my kids. My second greatest achievement, either as a Police Officer or a member of the community, was being in a position to make a positive difference to some people’s lives. To see a person who was not coping with life or going down a destructive path, and then later for them to turn it all around and prosper is very rewarding.
What inspires you to continue to keep contributing to the community …
To make the Sawtell community a better and safe place to live. It is as simple as that. If we all do our little bit, it is very achievable.
This story was published in issue 27 Coffs Coast