Ex-journo, same beat
JUST over a year after leaving Community Newspaper Group, former deputy editor Emma Clayton is back on a familiar beat.
Probationary Constable Clayton left a career in journalism spanning close to two decades to join the police force and the latest addition to the Murdoch Station could not be happier with her choice.
“I started working for CNG as a cadet journalist in 1996 and I think my first police ride was the following year,” she said.
“Straight away I was hooked and during my time working as a journalist I became more and more interested in working on crime stories.
“The more time I spent in police stations and in the back of police cars and taking photos and interviewing people, the more I realised police work is what I wanted to be doing.”
A number of lifestyle factors, including a young family, prevented Const Clayton from taking the plunge and applying until February 2015.
“When I applied I was 40 years old and my children were eight and 10 – I knew the longer I left it, the harder it would get, so the timing was right.”
After completing a rigorous nine-month recruitment process – including mental, physical, psychological and medical assessments – Const Clayton left Community to begin her police academy training in November 2015.
“You spend 28 weeks at the academy – when you start you pretty much don’t know anything and six months later you’re a fully operational police officer.”
After graduating, Const Clayton spent a few months in the traffic department before being assigned to Murdoch Police Station – reuniting her with the patch she had spent the previous three years covering for the Melville Times.
Now working as part of a local policing team, Const Clayton confided she was still coming to grips with sleeping patterns disrupted by shift work but said she loved the variety on offer through her new job.
“The local policing teams work in tandem with response officers, following up incidents they have dealt with originally,” Const Clayton said.
“It might be trying to source CCTV vision, finding any witnesses, interviewing those witnesses, trying to recover stolen property, executing a search warrant.
“We also know who our local prolific offenders are and will carry out curfew checks for people that might be on bail conditions.”
Const Clayton said her only regret was not joining sooner.
“It’s not a job for everyone, but honestly for me signing up was the best thing I ever did,” she said. “For anyone thinking about joining up, you have nothing to lose.
“It’s fun, you meet a lot of good people and ultimately you are catching bad guys and making people safer.”
Probationary Constable Emma Clayton investigates her old stomping ground.