Russell began his career with Victoria Police in 1982 and has worked in metropolitan and regional areas of Victoria across a variety of domains of policing. He currently holds the commissioned rank of Inspector. Russell currently manages the Centre for Transit Policing at the Victoria Police Academy. He is responsible for the 12 week foundation training program for Protective Services Officers (PSOs) who, following training, are deployed to all Metropolitan Railway Stations in Melbourne and a number of major regional railway stations. The key element for PSOs is community engagement in order to firstly improve perceptions of safety and secondly to act as guardians of good behaviour. PSOs commenced deployments in 2012 with their training based on utilising effective communication skills as a tactical option, rather than a reliance on operational safety equipment and subsequent confrontation.
Russell is also responsible for the professional development of PSOs within their first two years of employment. The Thinking Ahead course, which is delivered in two stages, addresses a number of areas of risk including dealing with mental health, resilience, situational awareness, coaching, introduction to supervision and managing underperformance amongst a range of other topics.
Russell is well known for his work in community engagement, neighbourhood renewal and community renewal projects along with the practical application of conflict analysis. Previously Russell worked in the geographical area of Greater Dandenong, where he addressed a major risk for the area by community engagement rather than by traditional policing practises. The use of effective communication and proactive community engagement resulted in sustainable solutions and enhanced relationships for the community, rather than confrontation by virtue of traditional policing methods.
Russell spent three months in Thailand in 2014 after being selected for a Rotary Peace Fellowship, which provided a further opportunity to develop his already considerable experience base in law enforcement and community policing along with establishing new professional relationships with international peace practitioners. He is an active Rotary Peace Fellow by recruiting future Rotary Peace Fellows and delivering presentations on conflict resolution to both internal and external stakeholders.