Meet the Greek Australian mums making waves in the NSW police force

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This year for Mother’s Day, The Greek Herald decided to speak with some aspiring women in the workforce on how they balance being full-time mums, as well as pursuing their careers.

The three Greek Australian women, Angela Vergopoulos, Denise Bozikis, and Anastasia Miliopoulos, have each had a career with NSW Police spanning between nine and 29 years. They shared their experiences as dedicated mothers and thriving police officers.

The three detectives

Anastasia Miliopoulos

After living in Greece for more than two decades, another proud mum and woman in the police force, Anastasia Miliopoulos shared her journey on how she became a police officer in Sydney.

Anastasia Miliopoulos

She said it followed a career change when she moved back to Australia just under a decade ago.

“Upon my return to Australia nine years ago, I resumed my career as a hairdresser. My husband and two boys got settled easily. However, I sensed that my journey in the field had reached its conclusion, prompting me to contemplate a change in my professional trajectory,” Anastasia said.

As Anastasia was fascinated by criminal investigations, she undertook inquiries into potential career transitions.

At the age of 45, she decided to take on a new career path with the “unwavering support” of her husband and children. She secured a position with the NSW Police Force.

“My induction involved attending the Police Academy in Goulburn, where I engaged in intensive studies alongside comprehensive officer safety and weapons training,” Anastasia said.

“While physical fitness posed minimal concerns, the academic aspect proved to be a formidable challenge.

“Yet, armed with determination and commitment, I successfully navigated the training, earning a position in General Duties at the Burwood Police Area Command.”

Anastasia said after being in the police force for the last nine years, and as she continues to aid the community and support victims of crimes, she has come across multiple tasks that have been both demanding and rewarding.

She further explained that resilience and empathy stand out as indispensable qualities in navigating the challenges inherent in the profession.

“To fellow women with an interest in investigation or forensics, I wholeheartedly encourage considering the NSW Police Force as a viable avenue, offering a plethora of opportunities across various domains,” Anastasia said.

“The experience has been transformative, and the sense of fulfillment derived from serving the community and contributing to justice is unparalleled.”

Denise Bozikis

One of the women we spoke with includes Detective Senior Constable Denise Bozikis. She is a 50-year-old woman who works at Burwood police station.

Denise Bozikis

She told The Greek Herald that she has been in the police force for 24 years, “and prior to that I worked for five years within the NSW Police as an unsworn officer.”

Denise shared what inspired her to become a police officer and how she decided that a career in the force was for her.

“I was studying and completing a degree in Social Science where I majored in psychology and criminology. I was also working as an admin officer in a police station,” Denise said.

“I got to observe first-hand the thrill of Policing and went home and told my parents that I was joining the Police Academy.

“I was very lucky that they took me straight away. The academy was hard, and the physical stuff was challenging, but I was so proud of myself for putting all the hard work in and passing.”

She said that despite her job having its challenges, it was one that was very rewarding.

“We meet people in the worst aspects of their lives at times,” Denise said.

“We get the opportunity to help these people get out of these bad situations and get back on their feet.

“The most rewarding part of the job is actually bringing justice for the victim. Even though it’s a stressful occupation, it makes it so worth it when the good people get their justice.”

Denise said some of the most valuable skills she’s learnt during her time with the police force includes being able to show compassion, being understanding and being non-judgemental.

“This is hard sometimes when we are dealing with certain people, but I push through it with integrity. It is something I think was taught to me from a young age,” Denise said.

“Both my father and mother taught me how to have compassion to all people.

“My father devoted his whole life to helping people and I would like to think I have followed in his footsteps in a roundabout way.”

Denise said she encourages young people interested in a career in the police force to pursue it.

It is the most empowering job in the world,” she said.

“As women, we can offer so much to this job. Our communication, mothers’ instinct and general women’s intuition.”

Angela Vergopoulos

Detective Senior Constable Angela Vergopoulis is another Greek Australian mum with an impressive career in the police force.

Photo: Angela Vergopoulos

Angela told The Greek Herald she joined the NSW Police Force 13 years ago, when she was 42 years old. She said she always dreamt of being a police officer.

“It was my childhood dream to be a police officer but my Greek, old-fashioned parents disapproved,” Angela said.

“I was conditioned to believe that my boundaries could extend no further than being a wife and mother. I married at 21 years old and had two children.

“When I realised there was no age limit to join the police, and with the support of my husband and teenage children, I applied.”

Angela said that due to her upbringing, and the expectations of her family wanting her to marry and have kids, she didn’t purse her dream until later in life. Once she finally made the decision to apply, Angela said her parents were “horrified, and used every guilt technique to talk me out of it.”

The Detective Senior Constable said the next step to her police career was spending eight months at a Police Academy in Goulburn.

“I found both the academic and physical training difficult, especially keeping up with people half my age,” Angela said.

“I worked hard, stayed focused and graduated.

“I am as proud and honoured to be a police officer today, as I was on the day I graduated. I am thankful for the evolution of women in policing and to be part of an organisation committed to equality and free of discrimination.”

Angela said one of the most important things she has learnt on the job is the importance of communication skills.

“From day to day we attend a variety of situations and deal with a diversity of people who need our help. It’s rewarding that I have developed the skills and knowledge to assist in my capacity as a police officer,” she said.

“The work is demanding, and such are the rigours of the job, that unless you have a deep-rooted sense of duty and community service, your chances of a long career in this profession diminish.

“Part of what we experience from day to day takes a substantial mental, emotional, and physical toll, be it the shift work, domestic violence incidents, assaults, robberies, and road crashes, to name a few. It’s important not to get worn down by cynicism and the content of the work.”

Angela said in a world full of male-dominated fields, she encourages more women to pursue their passions and try out a career in the police force.

“In tribute to our Greek mothers and grandmothers, I would like to acknowledge them for paving the way for a better life for us,” she said.

“Some remained traditional, others challenged the ways of the past and adopted a more modern outlook.

Either way, their dedication and devotion to family never wavered. I am inspired by their courage and resilience.”

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