After 10 years of commuting over the hill, Masterton's newest senior police officer is welcoming the opportunity to make his own community safer.
Senior Sergeant Gordon Crawley took up the role of area prevention manager on Monday. He will be responsible for 21 Wairarapa staff members from the road policing, family safety, station support, and youth and community teams.
Originally from Palmerston North, Mr Crawley and his family have been based in Wairarapa since 2004, when he worked for a year as a police prosecutor in Masterton.
Mr Crawley said since then he had been commuting to Wellington, where he worked for the district as well as Police National Headquarters.
"When we arrived here we thought we'd stay here for a bit. We never thought we'd stay here 11 years. There was a two to three year plan, but the reality was that we made some friends and started to enjoy the lifestyle here, so we stayed."
"We've become settled here and we don't plan on moving any time soon."
Mr Crawley said he was enjoying the eight-minute trip to work, rather than the commute over the hill, and was looking forward to "having some input into my own community after 10 years of travelling away".
"The bonus was not having a two-hour commute to work."
An officer with 24 years' experience, Mr Crawley has worked in a variety of roles around New Zealand, including on serious and organised crime investigations.
His last position was in police professional standards, where he previously held the rank of inspector. He said he chose to take on the rank of senior sergeant, which came with the prevention position.
"It's not about the rank, it's about the job.
"If it comes with a higher rank, that's a bonus, but at the end of the day that's not what attracted me to the job."
He recently spent six months as the prevention manager in Upper Hutt and was eager to get back into operational policing and a role that allowed him to get "out and about" more.
"I actually enjoyed the work so much that I wanted to carry on and do it. It was a bonus that it was here in Wairarapa."
While still adjusting to the Masterton station, Mr Crawley said the skills he brought from working in professional standards would also apply to his new role.
"Policing is very much a job about people and we can't do much without the confidence of the public."
He was looking forward to the challenge of the new role, he said.
"It's easy to catch someone but it's better if you can stop someone from being a victim in the first place."
"It's about having people feeling safe in their homes and in their street in their day-to-day lives ... less victims equals less crime."