Owen Timothy HARMS APM
Late of ?
Queensland Police Force
Regd. # 6052
Rank: Sergeant ? – Former member
Stations: ?, Mt Isa ( 4 years ), Gladstone Police District, O.I.C. – Miriam Vale ( past 20 years ), Rockhampton
Service: From ? ? ? to 1 August 2017 = 33+ years Service
Awards: Australian Police Medal – APM – granted 14 June 1999
National Medal – granted 27 February 2001
Two Commissioner Certificates
Multiple Citizen of the Year Awards
Born: 19 October 1966
Died on: Tuesday 1 August 2017
Cause: Suicided by ?
Event location: ?
Event date: Tuesday 1 August 2017
Funeral date: 8 August 2017
Funeral location: ? TBA
Buried at: ?
Memorial located at: ?
Funeral location: TBA
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May they forever Rest In Peace
In memoriam: Sergeant Owen Timothy HARMS APM, Queensland Police Service, died on 1st August 2017
In addition to Australia Police Medal and National Medal, Sergeant Owen Harms received a Certificate of Merit from The Royal Humane Society of Australasia. He was later also presented with an award and recognition for his diligence, ethical conduct and commitment to his community.
His passing is a devastating loss to his family, friends, the community and country he proudly served. We are all intensely desolated by the sting of this bitter grief.
“Step forward now, policeman,
You’ve borne your burdens well.
Come walk a beat on Heaven’s streets,
You’ve done your time in hell.”
Fallen in the line of duty. Gone, but never forgotten and forever in our hearts.
SHOCK: Top cop blows four times the legal limit
AFTER being on the other end of a breathalyser for 34 years, a Gladstone police officer never expected to be looking down the barrel himself.
Sergeant Owen Harms, 50, who has been stationed in Miriam Vale for the past 20 years, faced Gladstone Magistrates Court today on one charge of operating a vehicle under the influence of liquor.
Harms’ emotional plea of guilt came after returning a blood alcohol reading of .224%, more than four times the legal limit during a breath test.
Harms broke down in the courtroom upon having the charge read out to him for the offence on May 25 at Miriam Vale.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens said at about 3.50pm police found Harms along the Bruce Highway, a short distance from the Meadow Hotel.
The court heard Harms had come from the funeral of a close friend and decided to stop in at the pub to have a few drinks.
He left the hotel and got into his car, but upon realising he was not fit to drive, he pulled over and called his wife to come and get him.
However, Sgt Stevens said someone at the hotel alerted police to Harms’ behaviour and intention to get behind the wheel.
The police arrived before Harms’ wife.
Sgt Stevens said it was evident to the attending officers that Harms was intoxicated.
Sgt Stevens said upon the sobering fact that he had blown more than four times the legal limit, Harms became very remorseful and emotional at the scene.
He told officers he knew he was in the wrong to try to drive, but once he realised, he stopped and was waiting for his wife to come and pick him up.
However, the reason for stopping at the hotel was for something else entirely; just hours earlier Harms had been told by his doctor that he was now free of bowel cancer.
The same cancer that for the past three years had forced the officer to give up his duties on the streets, take a significant pay cut and work behind a desk.
That, paired with a heart condition, a crippling case of PTSD and severe depression and anxiety, had caused a huge burden for the sergeant and his family.
The court heard the mental conditions were a direct result of some of the scenes the officer had had to face during his confronting career.
Representing Harms in the courtroom, the Queensland Police Union’s Troy Schmidt said his client was committed to the Gladstone community and throughout his career had done and achieved extraordinary things, both as an officer and a volunteer.
“During his career this man has attended many fatals and suicides, deaths and horrific scenes,” Mr Schmidt said.
Harms again broke down in court when Mr Schmidt recounted a time where the officer was called to a job where a baby needed emergency CPR.
The CPR was unsuccessful and the baby died.
It was a memory that would always haunt the officer, Mr Schmidt said.
Mr Schmidt presented 21 good character references to the courtroom including that of deputy mayor Chris Trevor, the Miriam Vale Lions Club and Gladstone Police Inspector Darren Somerville.
The references described him to be a loving, unquestionably trustworthy and a highly commendable man.
Mr Schmidt said his client was now faced with the likely prospect of demotion and, given his requirement as a police officer to retire at the age of 60, would lose hundreds of thousands in finances.
He said his client’s family was suffering greatly.
The court heard Harms had been stood down from duties at Miriam Vale and had been working in Rockhampton.
Gladstone Magistrate Melanie Ho commended the sergeant on the work he had done for the community, and said it was quite clear the offending was out of character.
Ms Ho also noted that Harms had made the right choice in pulling over on the highway rather than continuing to drive.
He was fined $1500 and disqualified from driving for 12 months, with a conviction recorded.
Harms told The Observer he was deeply regretful for his actions.
“I’m so sorry,” he said.
“I know I have let the Gladstone community down.”
Council coughs up cash for lights at Gary Larson Oval
THE first rugby league game of the season at Miriam Vale’s Gary Larson Oval will be under new lights.
Gladstone Regional Council has agreed to give last year’s residual sport and recreation funding of $21,000 to caretaker group, Gary Larson Oval Enhancement Group, which was on its knees and threatening to shut the gates.
Oval leaseholder, Owen Harms, is ecstatic about the decision, handed down in council chambers yesterday.
It means Gary Larson Oval will have $44,000 worth of new lights installed by March, allowing the small town to safely host community organisations and sporting groups at the ground.
“This will be a huge boost for our senior rugby league team, the Magpies, who rely on playing at night,” Mr Harms said.
“Now we will have fantastic new lights to play under safely.
“We were on the verge of closing the gates and if this hadn’t come through that’s what we would have been looking to do.”
In November the group, which raised $23,000 towards new lights, made a desperate plea to the council after being rejected twice for funding.
This application also fell on deaf ears, the council having said it would be unfair to other groups.
In the last round of council sport and recreational funding there were five unsuccessful applications and all were invited to vie for the $20,900.
But only the application from the Gary Larson Oval group met the criteria.
Central Queensland Motor sports Complex, Benaraby put in an application but asked for $44,000 – more than double what was on offer.
Lowmead Social Cricket and Sporting Club also made a bid for $4500 of the left over funding, but their application didn’t meet the criteria either.
Gladstone Patrol Group Honours and Awards Ceremony
Last Thursday a total of 30 Officers were recognised for their diligence, ethical conduct and commitment to their community. This represented a total of 330 years served by police in the Gladstone Patrol Group. The ceremony was attended by Assistant Commissioner Michael Condon and the District Officer Superintendent Ron Van Saane. Distinguished guests included Councillor Gail Sellers, Mayor of Gladstone, Captain Dale heimer from the 42nd Battalion of the Australian Army, Members of the Gladstone Branch of the Retired Police Association, family and friends. Assistant Commissioner Condon stated of the officers who received a medal or award were, ‘an asset to the Service and Queensland, and more than deserving.” Congratulations to all recipients your skill and dedication are inspiring.
Brave officers hailed
POLICE Sergeant Michael Phillips will forever remember the day he tried to save two boys from suffocation in a collapsed sand cave at Anges Water.
Although tragically one of the boys died at the scene, the Central Queensland officer was hailed a hero for his valiant attempt to save them three years ago.
And last week he was honoured with a bravery award.
He and fellow police officer Sergeant Jonathon Edwards were awarded Bronze Medals and Sergeant Owen Harms received a Certificate of Merit from The Royal Humane Society of Australasia at a ceremony at Government House in Brisbane last Wednesday.
Sergeant Phillips said he was very proud to have received the medal, but added that it was a “bittersweet moment”.
“It would have been nice if we were able to save both boys, but things don’t work out the way you want them to unfortunately,” he said. “It is something that I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Sergeant Phillips said when the three officers were called to the beach on August 15, 2006, they did not know what to expect.
“We were just told three boys were buried; we didn’t anticipate it being the way it was,” he said.
The three men used shovels to dig for the boys who had been trying to connect two deep tunnels when the sand collapsed on them.
The men were unable to save one of the boys trapped under almost two metres of sand.
“It took us about two hours to get him out. “We performed CPR on the boy for about 20 minutes but he died. There was nothing else we could do,” he said.
Sergeant Edwards commandeered an excavator to free the other boy, who was still trapped under the sand.
Sergeant Phillips said the boy was buried up to his neck so he did every thing he could to keep him alive.
“I got into the hole with him and held an oxygen mask over his mouth to keep his airway clear,” he said.
“Once the digger could only get so close we had to dig by hand to get him out and managed to free him.”
The youngest of three boys, all brothers holidaying from the Netherlands, managed to free himself earlier and alert two French tourists of his trapped brothers.
Those tourists were also presented with awards in Paris for their rescue efforts.
Sergeant Phillips said the little boy had been very brave and stayed very calm.
“He was excellent; I was speaking to him the whole time and we talked about sports and where he was from; he wasn’t panicking at all,” he said.
Daryl Gough from Woodbury was also presented with an award for going to the rescue of a mother and three children who were saved from drowning at Nine Mile Beach, Yeppoon, on March 23 last year.
AWARDS CQ award recipients:
- Sergeant Michael Phillips
- Sergeant Jonathon Edwards
- Daryl Gough
Certificate of Merit:
• Sergeant Owen Harms
• 22 residents of Qld were presented with bravery awards.
- One Silver Medal, 17 Bronze Medals and 4 Certificates of Merit were presented by Governor of Queensland Penelope Wensley, AO.
Police officer dies:
Community pays tribute to police officer Owen Harms after his shock death
THE community has paid tribute to Miriam Vale police officer Owen Harms, who died yesterday.
Sergeant Harms had been stationed in Miriam Vale for the past 20 years.
True Blue Line – an organisation that posts news stories and information about emergency services, with a focus on Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States, posted a tribute on Facebook today.
“Sergeant Owen Harms, with a big heart and full of compassion for everyone, was everyone’s friend and the Officer in Charge at Miriam Vale Police in Gladstone Police District, Queensland. Highly respected and much loved by many, he dedicated over 30 years of his life to protect, serve and improve the community he cherished so much,” the post reads.
There were no suspicious circumstances around his death, and it came 36 days after he had admitted drink-driving in the Gladstone Magistrates Court.
He was a decorated officer.
“In addition to Australia Police Medal and National Medal, Sergeant Owen Harms received a Certificate of Merit from The Royal Humane Society of Australasia. Described as a true blue Aussie with a heart of gold, ‘Owey’ was also presented with an award and recognition for his diligence, ethical conduct and commitment to his community,’’ the True Blue post said.
“His passing is a devastating loss to his family, friends, the community and country he proudly served. We all feel intensely desolated by the sting of this bitter grief.’’
Others joined the tributes.
“You were there for every one of us… your door was always open for us to pop in and have a cuppa and chat… you never said a bad word about anyone! You knew how to make us laugh… you always gave a hug just when it was needed… you were so dearly loved by your beautiful family and the community in which you so proudly served!” – C.S.
“Your community is broken and lost tonight, this just doesn’t seem real. You were one of the best Owey. The support you’ve shown not only our family but your community over the years will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family tonight RIP Harmsey” – A.H.
“Step forward now, policeman,
“You’ve borne your burdens well.
“Come walk a beat on Heaven’s streets,
“You’ve done your time in hell.
“Fallen in the line of duty. Gone, but never forgotten and forever in our hearts.”
The Miriam Vale Rodeo Association said he was a true hero to all that knew him.
“MV Rodeo Association wishes to extend our heartfelt condolences to Owen’s beloved family and friends during this devastating time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all,” they posted.
“Owey, you will be sorely missed mate!”
Gladstone Region Mayor Matt Burnett took to Facebook to post his own tribute.
“Terrible sad day for the Gladstone Region as we mourn the loss of Sergeant Owen Timothy Harms,” he wrote.
“No words can describe how great a man he was and how devastating this news is. Rest in peace my friend.”
The Miriam Vale Magpies Rugby League Club remembered Sgt Harms on Facebook.
“Owen, our community pillar, our hero, our mate!,” the post reads.
“Forever etched in our hearts and minds are the memories of this tremendous man! May you rest in eternal peace Owey. We love you and will miss you terribly.
“On behalf of the Maggies family we are all holding Lyn, Brendon and Bree very close in our hearts and thoughts at this devastating time. May you draw strength and courage from the outpouring of love and support.”
– If you need help phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.
THE community has paid tribute to Miriam Vale police officer Owen Harms, who died on Monday.
Sergeant Harms was stationed in Miriam Vale for the past 20 years.
True Blue Line, an organisation that posts news and information about emergency services, posted a tribute on Facebook.
“Sergeant Owen Harms, with a big heart and full of compassion for everyone, was everyone’s friend and the Officer in Charge at Miriam Vale Police in Gladstone Police District, Queensland. Highly respected and much loved by many, he dedicated over 30 years of his life to protect, serve and improve the community he cherished so much,” the post read.
There were no suspicious circumstances around his death.
It came 36 days after he admitted in the Gladstone Magistrates Court drink-driving.
He was a decorated officer. Sgt Harms was also beloved in the sporting community, and played an instrumental role in combining the Agnes Water and Miriam Vale teams to form the Northern Force Rugby League Club.
This Sunday a minute of silence will be held when the Northern Force play Avondale before the team run out to Eye of the Tiger – “Owie’s favourite song”, president Kym McIntosh told the NewsMail.
“It’s rocked two clubs, rocked two communities. “It’s just so sad.”
“In addition to Australia Police Medal and National Medal, Sergeant Owen Harms received a Certificate of Merit from The Royal Humane Society of Australasia. Described as a true blue Aussie with a heart of gold, ‘Owey’ was also presented with an award and recognition for his diligence, ethical conduct and commitment to his community,” the True Blue post said.
“His passing is a devastating loss to his family, friends, the community and country he proudly served. We all feel intensely desolated by the sting of this bitter grief.:” Others joined the tributes. “You were there for every one of us … your door was always open for us to pop in and have a cuppa and chat … you never said a bad word about anyone! You knew how to make us laugh… you always gave a hug just when it was needed … you were so dearly loved by your beautiful family and the community in which you so proudly served!” one wrote.
The Miriam Vale Rodeo Association and the Magpies Rugby League Club paid tribute to “a true hero”, while Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett took to Facebook to post his own tribute.
“Terrible sad day for the Gladstone region as we mourn the loss of Sergeant Owen Timothy Harms.
“No words can describe how great a man he was and how devastating this news is. Rest in peace my friend.” ■ If you or someone you know needs help, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.