Sergeant John Illingworth

South Australia Police Officer of the Year 2012 - Sergeant John IllingworthSergeant John Illingworth congratulated by Unley Rotary President Stephen Westgarth

On 21 May 2013, Sergeant John Illingworth was awarded the South Australia Police Officer of the Year 2012 in the Rundle Mall. This 35th ceremony coincides with SAPOL celebrating its 175th commemoration.

Sergeant John Illingworth has played a leading role in road safety. He joined the Force in 1979 and after some years of patrol work became a Police prosecutor. In 1988 he was promoted to Sergeant and handled prosecutions for a large area of the State from the Port August Station. In 2007 he was appointed as the Road Safety Program Coordinator.

He restored effective communication with the public through the media, which he managed particularly well with courtesy, understanding and humour. New programs were initiated dealing with better understanding of the road rules and human factors which affect driving performance. He has played a key role in guiding legislation and displaying road safety material across the State, including in remote localities such as Moonta. Voluntary breath testing stations were set up at the Schoolies Festival 2012 which prevented 37 novice drivers taking to streets while under the influence of alcohol.

State Government programs such as its Road Safety Strategy 'Towards Zero Together', 'Living Neighbourhoods' which is about creating people friendly and safer roads, and 'Way2Bike Ed' have all benefited from his advice and assistance.

He is now in charge of the new SAPOL Road Safety Centre which he helped to design and which will play an important role in childhood road safety education. Recently he teamed up with Humphrey B Bear to develop a kids' road safety video. He has worked with the Royal Institute of Australia to meld road trauma case studies with science to achieve a better understanding of dangerous driving – secondary school science teachers are being used to sell the message in our schools. No demographic group in the State has been immune from his efforts to improve road safety and drive down the death and injury toll.

He has been described as an excellent communicator through plain speaking and appropriate humour, an outstanding networker, inspiring, innovative, tireless, a team player, always helpful and highly effective.