At 27, Anne Vogler found herself interviewing a victim of childhood rape — the victim was the same age as her, and the thoughts comparing herself to the victim at age 10, or 11, or 12, were all-consuming.
She is now a Detective Inspector of Crime and Support with the Queensland Police Service (QPS) in Mount Isa and throughout her entire 25-year career, that one interview — one of thousands — has stuck with her.
When Detective Inspector Vogler joined the QPS in 1994, she did so because she realised her teaching degree was not going to allow her enough variability in life.
At 23, she was sworn in and began what would be an accomplished career as one of the few female officers to reach the higher ranks.
As one of six female recruits in her squad of about 25, Detective Inspector Vogler said she did not stand out too much because of her gender, but said as soon as she began working for the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB), the amount of female officers dramatically dropped off.
While women now stand in many leadership roles within QPS, Detective Inspector Vogler said as one of the first to rise through the CIB ranks, she came across not only plenty of backlash, but some very strong, forward-thinking male bosses.
When Detective Inspector Vogler received her first Detective Sergeant position, which is three ranks lower than she is now, she said her success came down to one man.
Detective Senior Sergeant Andrew Trenerry was the officer in charge at Pine Rivers CIB when Detective Inspector Vogler applied and he took her on in the team.
"He was very supportive of female police, well before it was cool," she said.
"He used to say 'you'll get promoted over me' and I would say 'that will never happen', but it has and I still can't believe it.
"He became my mentor, and he still is. I ring him often for advice, and it shows how important having those male bosses who supported you unconditionally really was."
Traditionally, female plain clothes officers were found more often in the Child Protection and Investigation Unit (CPIU), while the men went to CIB.
"At some stages I was definitely the only girl in the office," Detective Inspector Vogler said.
It was while relieving at Nundah CIB in the late 1990s that she was told by a well-respected and very 'old school' Detective Sergeant, upon applying for a position in his team, 'if we have to have a girl, it may as we well be you' — something Detective Inspector Vogler said she took as a "huge compliment".
But she did not get that job, though soon found herself in her first full-time plain-clothes position at State Crime Command in Taskforce Argos, investigating historical paedophilia and child abuse cases.
While working at Argos, Detective Inspector Vogler worked on historical institutionalised paedophilia cases involving churches and schools, and it was there that she worked the case mentioned earlier, which began with an anonymous phonecall.
"The phone rang and I happened to answer it," she said.
"It was an anonymous caller who gave me two names; one was a paedophile, the other was a victim. Then they just hung up."
Over an 18-month period Detective Inspector Vogler investigated the case, which blew out to involve four victims who had been molested as children by a trusted family friend. One was his granddaughter.
"Arresting him … he was old, in his 70s, and it felt good," she said.
"He was jailed for about a decade I think, and last I heard he had cancer, and I'm okay with that."
Moving up the ranks
After working at Argos, Detective Inspector Vogler moved to Hendra CIB as a Plain Clothes Constable in 2002, and worked towards her detective appointment, which she received in 2004.
"Even when I got the role of Detective Sergeant I was told I was being watched, because I think that I was one of the first female Detective Sergeants in CIB on the north side [of Brisbane]," she said.
When applying for Detective Sergeant (DS) positions, Detective Inspector Vogler said she was told outright by one officer in charge that she would never have a position in his office, because he had "big personalities to manage".
Detective Inspector Vogler said as she began progressing further through the ranks in CIB she noticed less women at her rank, and even fewer women above her in those investigative roles as her superiors.
Detective Inspector Vogler said working in Mount Isa has been her first real regional stint in the job, and said it was great to see the strong female workforce in the district, including a large female leadership group.
The district has an impressive seven females in Officer in Charge positions, with two in Mount Isa (one uniformed, one CPIU) and one each (all uniformed) in Doomadgee, Mornington Island, Dajarra, Mckinlay and Julia Creek.
"We actually don't have a male DS, which is unheard of," Detective Inspector Vogler said.
"We need to have women in these DS roles. They offer a point of difference — a different way to look at investigations and management that is unique, this will allow them to be great OICs.
"We just need to ensure they are ready and supported when these OIC positions become available."