New Featherston cop has military skills

By Alisa Yong alisa.yong@age.co.nz -
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South Wairarapa's new full-time sergeant Richie Day is not afraid of a challenge. PHOTO/ALISA YONG
South Wairarapa's new full-time sergeant Richie Day is not afraid of a challenge. PHOTO/ALISA YONG

From Bosnia to Bougainville, South Wairarapa's new police sergeant isn't scared of a challenge.

Full-time South Wairarapa sergeant Richie Day started his new role based in the Featherston station this week.

Mr Day had been working at the Masterton station until this week, when he took over responsibility for the 10 community constables based in Martinborough, Featherston, Carterton and Greytown.

Previously a military police officer, Mr Day said his nine years in the military had taught him discipline, loyalty and comradeship, all skills which had served him well in his career in the police force.

A former Hadlow School pupil, Mr Day finished his education at New Plymouth Boys before joining the army.

He served in Bougainville, Bosnia and Antarctica before joining the police in his late 20s.

Now 42, he spent seven years as a front-line officer in Masterton, after transferring from central Wellington with his young family.

It was exciting to be stepping into the new role, he said.

"A challenge is as good as a holiday sometimes and I'm really excited about the new position and what I'm going to be doing.

"It's a step up from my previous role. It's more of a challenge and I believe it will be a really rewarding role -- I'm really looking forward to getting among the community and strengthening the relationships that have already been built."

Youth issues and family violence were two areas he was keen to focus on.

"Youth has been a problem and obviously family violence is a problem nationwide and definitely a problem in South Wairarapa. Obviously I'll take a lead on that from a police perspective using intelligence we receive and directing my staff and taking ownership and being accountable, but also it's working with the community, with our business partners and seeking their assistance and their guidance in these areas and hopefully tackling all these issues together."

The skills learnt in the military could help at-risk youth, he said.

"When I was in the military a lot of my colleagues were from troubled pasts or backgrounds.

"The military is a fantastic place to instil discipline and it's a great career option and some of these youth who may believe that there's no job out there or no future for them, it would teach them life skills and employment skills that they can carry into the future -- even if they decide the military is not for them. So if I get to speak to some of these youths, I will be passing my experiences of that on to them."

He would be keen to see an initiative like the CACTUS (Combined Adolescent Challenge Training Unit and Support) boot camp run in South Wairarapa.

He was also looking to gather better information on troublespots, whether it be crashes or burglaries, so that resources could be better targeted to the areas that needed them. He plans to get out and about as much as possible.

"I don't like being stuck in an office, so I plan to get out there and be seen in the community."

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