Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following article contains the name and description of someone who has died.
“See that woman over there?” Wendy Kelly asked a colleague, as they watched a staggering, drunk woman attracting stares as she walked down the street.
“That was me five years ago,” she told him, revelling in the way his eyes bulged out of his head at her admission.
It's been almost two decades since that conversation, and for Wendy Kelly - now Senior Constable Kelly - it hasn't been an easy path.
WATCH: The trailer for Our Law, starring Wendy. Post continues after video.
In fact, as she told Mamamia, she hit rock bottom before finding herself wearing a uniform at the age of 36, first as a liaison officer and then as a police officer.
Now, she’s being heralded for helping to repair community trust in police in Warakurna Western Australia, as one half of the country's first entirely Indigenous-run police station, which featured in the documentary Our Law, released this month on NITV.
As an Indigenous woman herself, Wendy’s entire life has taken place against the background hum of racism. She has lived it, seen the unfairness of it and is hopeful - like so many Australians - that the current Black Lives Matter protests will finally mark the beginning of real change against systemic racism in our country.
But she’s been focusing her efforts on small wins.
After years of dealing with substance abuse issues, domestic violence, a cultural identity crisis due to growing up in a white foster family and four years of homelessness, Wendy knows what 'tough' feels like.
Her turning point came in 1992, when she had her throat cut by a man she lived with and nearly died. It was the last time she had a drink.