Sarah Benson was a junior forensics officer with academic expertise in explosives analysis when on October 12, 2002, her professional world - as well as that of many of her fellow police officers - took a very different trajectory.
Chemical explosions ripped through the Sari Club and Paddy's Bar in Bali's downtown Kuta Beach nightclub district, creating a firestorm which claimed the lives of 202 people, including 88 Australians.
The attacks represent the single largest loss of Australian lives due to an act of terror.
Suddenly, the multiskilled AFP team which had been set up during the 2000 Sydney Olympics - an explosive laboratory was a "just in case" scenario but never required - was regeared and thrust into the international spotlight.
"That [2000 Olympics] gave us the pathway to our field deployable capability to support our international partners," she said.
She said the Bali attacks were her first operational deployment overseas for the AFP.
"People wanted answers," Dr Sarah Benson said.
"I remember it as a little overwhelming at the time, but I was fortunate in that I had some very experienced people around me."
The corporate lessons from that were well-learned and now the AFP has a number of scalable deployable capabilities - basically mobile laboratories - which can be trundled into the back of cargo aircraft and freighted off to any corner of the globe.
Dr Benson, an unsworn commander with AFP Forensics, was a recipient of an Australian Police Medal in the Queen's Birthday honours.
Now in her 21st year with AFP Forensics, Dr Benson has been rewarded for displaying "outstanding operational leadership of many of the AFP's most challenging and demanding responses to criminal threats, terrorist incidents and natural disasters".
She said that Operation Ironside, the huge national drug network-busting operation which started last week, is now starting to yield a massive volume of forensic exhibits.
As is common with many ACT and federal policing busts and arrest, after the handcuffs go on, the exacting and important work of forensic examination begins at Majura.
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