The heroes of the WA Police who helped find Cleo Smith have been been celebrated at a special dinner hosted by Premier Mark McGown and Governor Kim Beazley.

Cleo’s parents travelled from Carnarvon to Perth to say an emotional thank you to the officers from Taskforce Rodia, the name given to the operation to find their missing four-year-old daughter.

Western Australia police officers rescued Cleo 18 days after she went missing from the Blowholes Campground, which make headlines around the world.

Cleo’s mum Ellie and stepdad Jake Gliddon arrived at the dinner, along with 140 officers, many of whom were presented with a medal honouring their painstaking work in finding Cleo.

Detective Superintendent Rod Wilde, the head of Taskforce Rodia, became a familiar face of the operation, keeping the public updated on a daily basis with the latest news from the investigation.

Also in attendance was Detective Senior Sergeant Cameron Blaine, the man who, along with three other officers, found Cleo at a house not far from her own family home.

Police bodycam footage of Blaine carrying little Cleo out of the house went global.

Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch spoke to 7News before the ceremony began, saying it was a good day for the taskforce to be commended.

“What a great day to recognise the officers who worked so hard on the job,” he said.

“All the guys and girls, the analysts, the specialists, the officers, the detectives – it’s a team effort, it’s not just one person, it’s everyone.”

Cleo’s accused abductor, Terence Kelly, will appear in court next week.

Image credits: WA Police

This article first appeared on Over60.