Mid West-Gascoyne police district welcomes new inspector Peter Jenal, after 14-year stint in the Kimberley

Jessica MoroneyGeraldton Guardian
Mid West-Gascoyne Insp. Peter Jenal says he’s looking forward to living and working in the Mid West.
Camera IconMid West-Gascoyne Insp. Peter Jenal says he’s looking forward to living and working in the Mid West. Credit: Jessica Moroney/Geraldton Guardian

Peter Jenal is the Mid West-Gascoyne police district’s newest asset, and brings 45 years policing experience to the role of inspector.

Working in the Kimberley on and off for the past 14 years, as well as the Goldfields and South West districts, Insp. Jenal decided to move to Geraldton for the first time and embark on his next journey with WA Police.

Some of his prior roles in the force include working in the criminal investigation branch as a detective, an arson squad classified expert in fire investigation, a detective officer in charge in Broome and Mandurah as well as officer-in-charge roles at Halls Creek and Bunbury stations.

Insp. Jenal left Halls Creek when he was promoted to his first role as inspector in 2018, and he oversaw border entries when COVID-19 restrictions came into force, ensuring there was enough support for officers during unprecedented times.

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He returned to work in Kununurra for three years before relocating to Geraldton.

Most recently, Insp. Jenal has focused on deployments to Operation Regional Shield to combat juvenile crime in the Kimberley and hopes to continue that work in the Mid West.

During his policing career, Insp. Jenal was responsible for arresting Garry Douglas Whitsed in 2001 after he killed his lover, Avril Croft, and her 15-year-old daughter Alahna on a yacht trip off the Kimberley coast and sunk their bodies in shark and crocodile infested water.

Whitsed was jailed for a minimum of 19 years for the killings.

The experienced cop has been involved in several other murder investigations, including a family violence incident when a man was stabbed in Mandurah and a young boy was assaulted and stabbed in a driveway.

Now in his new role, Insp. Jenal will support regional stations across the district, from Geraldton to Jurien Bay, ensuring OICs are equipped with adequate resources to govern each station.

He arrived in June, in perfect time to deal with the recovery of the washed up space junk in Green Head that made international news this month.

Comparing the Kimberley to the Mid West-Gascoyne, Insp. Jenal said the districts had their differences that created changes in the way each station worked.

Mid West-Gascoyne Insp. Peter Jenal.
Camera IconMid West-Gascoyne Insp. Peter Jenal. Credit: Jessica Moroney/Geraldton Guardian

He said he’d noticed there were more missing person searches in the Mid West.

“We all do the same job, but they’re quite different in their make-up as to what we actually police in different areas,” he said.

“For instance, Kununurra is more tourism, they’ve got the river systems and they also have crime up there that is probably more volume crime . . . which we still get here in Geraldton, but we’ve also got a coastline to look after so that becomes part of our emergency management area.

“I’ve noticed here there’s a lot more prospectors that go missing throughout the Meekatharra area.

“Policing is basically the same, but in saying that there is some differences in relation to what we actually are policing and what we’re doing.”

Insp. Jenal said he looked forward to spending the next few years in Geraldton alongside his wife, who also works at the station. He encouraged people who recognised him to stop and say hello.

“I look forward to living and working (in Geraldton), I’m really happy to be here,” he said.

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