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What sort of things does your job include?
I am a sergeant with the Traffic Alcohol Group, based at the Greerton Police Station in Tauranga. I have a team of five that work with me to prevent and apprehend people who drink drive. We set up CBT (Compulsory Breath Testing) checkpoints where all drivers are breath tested and if they fail the test they are taken back to the booze bus and tested further. We also have mobile patrols and the team drive around in marked and unmarked patrol cars and breath test drivers.
The other part of my job involves completing paperwork for the prosecutions section that completes the court process on our behalf. I also plan operations where we target specific areas at specific times. Our area covers Katikati to the north and Te Kaha to the south. We also help out in Rotorua and Taupo. We generally stay overnight when we travel to those places.
Describe a typical day in your job.
This depends on what shift I am working. During a day shift I stay in the office for the most part. I check the staff files, plan operations, and provide training for my staff and others. I mentor new staff and spend a lot of time with them to ensure they understand the tasks.
During a 'late' shift or a 'swing' shift, where we work at night, I plan where we are going to work and roster the staff. Then we drive to the site and set up the checkpoint ensuring it is well lit and safe for the staff and the public. During the shift we take a meal break and then generally go back out to another checkpoint. Before I go home I check and complete the paperwork.
What kind of training do you have to do to become a police officer?
The training that I have done is exactly the same as all police. I was accepted at the NZPC (Royal New Zealand Police College), the course was for six months and we were trained in self-defence, firearms, driving, law, policy and procedures. The physical requirements include running a specified distance in a certain time, jumping a certain height, grip strength and completing an obstacle course in a specified time.
Police receive continued training in many aspects of the job throughout their careers – from law to policy, from fitness to driving cars.
What made you want to become a police officer?
I have wanted to be a police officer since I was really young. Many years ago I went out in a patrol car in Otara and thought that it was very exciting.
What aspects do you enjoy about your job?
It is a good feeling when you help people and take the criminals off the streets. The team that I am working with are a great bunch of people and their hearts are in the right places. We all really enjoy what we do. It is great to take a drunk driver off the road and think that you may have saved their life or someone else's. I have been to too many accidents where drunk drivers have been travelling too fast and have injured themselves or others in the process.
What aspects do you find difficult?
People that are intoxicated are sometimes difficult to deal with.
What kind of people do you get to work with?
One of the best things about this job is that you get to work with lots of different people – the public, police, in fact everyone. The team that I have at the moment are great. Prior to joining the police they have worked in many areas. Some have military backgrounds, one has been a butcher, one a physical trainer, and one has had a job in security, one in IT, and one in a rest home.
How many other policewomen do you work with?
There is one other police officer on my section at the moment. The majority of the police are male but more females have joined in recent years.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given while you’ve been in the job?
“Give everything your very best.”
“Think before you act.”
What do you recommend for other young women who might want to become a police officer?
Get involved. Get out there and learn, whether as part of a sports team or other group. Keep studying and remember English and maths are part of the entry requirements to get into police college.
What things do you do in your spare time?
I am studying for promotion within the police force. I also live on a lifestyle block so that takes up a lot of my time.