As an elderly couple spent their final moments in the wreckage of a car crash, Sgt Cameron Clifford was the voice lending the calm words of reassurance.
It is this human touch during tragic times that earned the Walpole officer-in-charge the title of WA Police Officer of the Year yesterday.
In the past 12 months, Sgt Clifford has been one of the first on the scene after eight deaths in the town, including two drownings and a fatal car crash.
Grateful residents of the 500-strong community nominated him for the award, which he collected at a presentation event at Crown Perth yesterday.
Senior police were told how during one emergency, Sgt Clifford spent 45 minutes trying to resuscitate a man before he died.
They said he often fielded calls well into the night.
"You're a long way from help in a lot of country places," Sgt Clifford said.
"It's not like you have the cavalry coming over the hills.
"They've rolled their car, they're 60km from nowhere and we are it."
Sgt Clifford said regional work had been the highlight of his 24-year policing career.
He thanked his wife Kym and sons aged 13 and 10 for moving around WA with him during his many country posts.
"The ability to sit down, have a chat, have a beer, have a cup of tea and have someone tell you they still love you and you're doing a great job is brilliant," Sgt Clifford said.
Mrs Clifford, who watched her husband collect his award, said the family had made sure they were there to "offer a hug" after his many long shifts.
Major crash unit investigator Sen. Const. Peter Price and Cranbrook police officer-in-charge Sgt Bob Scott were finalists in the awards, judged by WA Police, Rotary Club members and sponsors.