‘Memories are the things you don’t want to take home’ — DI Jon Rouse.
It’s not often that I hold the police up as heroes, but the case of Detective Inspector Jon Rouse of the Queensland Police Service, demands an exception. Retiring after 40 years’ police service, DI Rouse has been at the front line of child sexual abuse prevention for over over a generation. A pioneer in the field, Rouse and his three-person team would, in the early days of the internet, pose as children on the internet and lure sex predators into sophisticated police traps that would go on to ensnare thousands of offenders, and prevent untold numbers of sexual crimes against children.
Don’t, for a moment, think that these tactics are some kind of ‘entrapment’. Entrapment, which is illegal, exists when the police use a tactic that causes a person to commit a crime, that they wouldn’t have, had it not been for the actions of the police. People who lurk around the internet chatting up children and grooming them for the purposes of sexual abuse, do not fall into this category. If it so happens that the ‘child’ turns out to be a police officer, then that is just tough shit.
In the video below, DI Rouse explains at least some of his motivation, and for me it’s something that was very familiar. The phone call from an adult victim of childhood sexual abuse, the sobbing, the desperation and — for the person on the other end of the line — the overwhelming sense of helplessness.
What Jon Rouse did was go on to become one of Australia and the world’s leading police experts on child abuse prevention. From the video, you get a glimpse of the great personal cost paid for that service. He will have seen and heard some terrible things.
‘Courage’ can be defined as, seeing a situation, realising that it threatens your safety and proceeding anyway, for the good of others. By any measure, Jon Rouse can be marked as a courageous man.
Thank you for your service, DI Rouse.