If four new recruits who start their 16 weeks of formal training at the Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua on Monday weren't excited when they arrived at their farewell at the Kaitaia police station yesterday, they should have been by the time afternoon tea was served.

They were about to embark upon the ride of their lives, Inspector Chris McLellan said, and while the going might be a little tough to start with, especially being separated from their families, he had no doubt that they would soon get into the swing of it.

Those joining Wing 317 are Andrew Duff, Elaine Jecentho, Kelsey Jellick (Whangarei) and Paulo Montino (from Chile, but whose wife was "from here, so I can't go anywhere else".)
Ms Jellick will return to Whangarei when she graduates, but the others will be posted to Kaitaia.

Inspector McLellan said the recruits would find their new environment challenging, but they were playing an important part in a recruitment programme that was designed to fill local police roles with local people.

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And while they would be in Porirua for the next 16 weeks they were already part of the Northland police family, which would be happy to support them and their families as required. That included helping out at home during their absence, an offer that might even extend to babysitting.

Acting Senior Sergeant Sarah Wihongi told the families that they were part of the process that their partners had embarked upon, and their lives would change too.

"You're sharing [the recruits] with us, and in turn we will support you," she said.

Meanwhile all four recruits had worked hard to reach the point where they were ready to begin their formal training, a process that in Ms Jecentho's case had begun three years ago.