Perth policeman is on the Navy beat

Published on LEUT Ryan Zerbe (author), ABIS Ronnie Baltoft (photographer)

Topic(s): Royal Australian Navy Band, HMAS Adelaide (L01), Exercise RIMPAC, Reserves

Royal Australian Navy Band drummer, Able Seaman Musician Nathan Hicks, with his band mates in HMAS Adelaide during Exercise RIMPAC 18. (photo: ABIS Ronnie Baltoft)
Royal Australian Navy Band drummer, Able Seaman Musician Nathan Hicks, with his band mates in HMAS Adelaide during Exercise RIMPAC 18.

For 14 years Nathan Hicks has worked both as an officer in the Western Australia Police Force and a sailor in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

Nathan has temporarily laid down his duties in Police Prosecutions to deploy throughout the Pacific aboard HMAS Adelaide as a drummer with the RAN Band.

Originally from Wembley in the west of Perth, Nathan has most recently visited Hawaii for Exercise RIMPAC 2018 following port visits to Suva in Fiji and Nuku’alofa in Tonga as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2018.

“This is my first deployment and my first time at sea and it’s a once in a lifetime chance go abroad and promote the Australian Defence Force through music,” Nathan said.

“We performed for more than 1,000 children at a local high school in Tonga and to see the look on their faces while they clapped and danced was priceless.  In return the kids sang their school song for us and the wall of sound blew me away.”

“It’s also been great to visit Pearl Harbor, see the history and be part of the world’s largest military exercise.”  

“We’ve had the chance to play with some awesome musicians from the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet Band and perform at official receptions, local schools and hospitals and at Independence Day celebrations.”

Nathan finds both of his careers complement each other, giving him enhanced skills as a police officer and as a sailor.

“In addition to the teamwork of both jobs, I find the main skill I can build on is communication,” he said.

“I have the chance to talk with everyone from the Chief of Navy to a junior sailor in one job, or from a Chief Magistrate to fellow officers across police branches in the other job.”

“Both jobs mean I get to interact with the general public a lot.” 

Although managing parallel careers requires balance, Nathan strongly believes deploying as a reservist is worthwhile.

“It isn’t something you would get to do in the average job,” he said.

“I’ve been able to work with full time sailors from other backgrounds and see how they help make the ship run smoothly.”

“I can take those experiences back to other reserve units and bring something new to policing.”

Nathan will return from deployment in September and return to his policing duties.