Source: New Zealand Police
Fifty-nine new cops are preparing to graduate from the Royal New Zealand Police College on Thursday.
All are taking on the challenge of helping their communities to be safe and feel safe, but some of the graduates are also taking their previous work caring for others to a new level.
For the past three years Constable Sasha-Lee Graves has been a support worker, helping to look after and look out for people with physical and intellectual disabilities and mental illness.
She says while this was fulfilling work, moving into policing will offer her more opportunities to make a difference to others, especially vulnerable people in her community.
“Hopefully one day I will be able to help people understand the different aspects of mental health through policing and how we are all connected to it in some way.”
Sasha-Lee will be posted to Waikato District.
Constable Jessie Latimer spent two years working at a high school in Kawerau, where she collaborated with the school, Police and many other agencies to create opportunities for youth in the area.
Jessie has also worked as a personal trainer, using those skills to benefit adults with disabilities.
“I’ve joined Police to see if I can make a genuine change in my community,” says Jessie, who will be posted to Bay of Plenty District.
Coming from the US and posted to Eastern District, Constable Bridgette Melvin has brought with her an impressive background in the social service sector.
She has worked on an early literacy programme for vulnerable children, has helped new migrants develop English language skills, worked in aged care and has supported people with intellectual disabilities.
“I have always had an interest in communities and community building, and I felt policing would be a great way to be involved with different communities and help people feel safe.”
Constable Donovan Burrows grew up in South Africa, and on moving to New Zealand decided to join up as a volunteer fire fighter. This motivated him to make the move into policing.
“As a volunteer fire fighter I found fulfilment in being able to help people in the community, but I decided I wanted a role in preventing harm and preventing accidents rather than just responding to them. So that’s when I decided to apply to join Police.”
Donovan will be working in Northland District.
Constable Yuko Ryujin, who is originally from Japan, knows how vulnerable some immigrants feel in a new country.
She has volunteered at the Shakti Ethnic Women’s Refuge and Support Group, and says policing will help her do more to support immigrants.
“I would like to be a role model in the immigrant community and help everyone feel safe regardless of their background.”
Yuko will be working in Canterbury District.
Some talented sports people will also be on parade tomorrow, among them equestrian and rugby player Constable Stacey Anderson.
Stacey will be tackling crime in Canterbury District with as much gusto as her father – 1987 World Cup winning All Black Albert Anderson – tackled opposing players throughout his rugby career.
Stacey started playing rugby for the Southbridge Rugby Club, like her father, and has represented Canterbury.
She has also represented New Zealand in equestrian events, competing to Grand Prix level.
Mother of two, Constable Carly Anderson, has topped the wing and will receive the Minister’s Award at the ceremony.
Based in Nelson and posted to Tasman District, Carly has worked in retail environments in the US and New Zealand.
She says she has joined Police to help make our communities safer and show her children and others that “anything is possible if you put your mind to it, and don’t mind putting in the work.”
Another great role model is Constable Sholto Leaso, who will receive the Leadership Award.
Sholto is proud of his Samoan/Hawaiian/Māori/Dutch ancestry, and says he can relate to a lot of youth in New Zealand due to his upbringing in South and West Auckland, working in the Auckland Fish Market and in a gym as a personal trainer.
“I know I can be a role model and someone that young people can trust.”
Sholto is posted to Bay of Plenty District.
Commissioner Mike Bush, other members of the Police Executive, and Police Minister Hon Stuart Nash will also be present at the graduation ceremony on Thursday 27 February.
Minister’s Award recognising top student – Constable Carly Anderson, Tasman District
Award for second top student – Constable Jordyn Paekau, Waikato District
Commissioner’s Award for Leadership – Constable Sholto Leaso, Bay of Plenty District
Physical Training and Defensive Tactics Award – Constable Joseph Laiman, Southern District
Driver Training and Road Policing Practice Award – Constable Jaimee Leader, Central District
Firearms Award – Constable Sholto Leaso, Bay of Plenty District
The new constables will have a one-week break before starting duties in their districts. The wing is being dispersed as follows:
Northland – 4
Counties Manukau – 1
Waikato – 10
Bay of Plenty – 6
Eastern – 4
Central – 5
Wellington – 15
Tasman – 4
Canterbury – 4
Southern – 6
Media are welcome to attend the Graduation Parade which takes place at the Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua.
The ceremony starts at 2.00pm on Thursday 27 February.
Any media wishing to attend the graduation should contact the Police Media Centre by 5pm Wednesday at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issued by Police Media Centre.