Clutha gains new sergeant
A new job in his old home town: Jason Leadley has returned to Balclutha and taken up a sergeant’s role with Clutha District police.
The 40-year-old has quite a skill-set, ranging from soldiering to labouring, to embellish his newly acquired sergeant’s stripes.
The former South Otago High School pupil left Balclutha in 1994 and joined the army and the Royal New Zealand Infantry.
He was based at Burnham near Christchurch for eight years, from 1995 to 2003 as a corporal and frontline soldier, which included tours to East Timor.
In the years between 2003 and deciding to join the police in Invercargill in 2007, he worked as a labourer in Australia, a meat worker back in Balclutha, a prison officer for Department of Corrections at Invercargill, and a dairy farmer.
‘‘I’d stayed in contact with my army friends, and I talked to them about my next move, and they suggested the police would be a good fit for me. I think it brings together a lot of practical skills. I’ve also worked with a range of people.’’
His new sergeant’s role at Clutha began dramatically three weeks ago with the extensive search and rescue effort for the late Stephen Lowe of Dunedin, whose body was recovered near McLean Falls in the Catlins on September 27.
‘‘It was day two, and I hadn’t expected to be involved in such a large scale search and rescue. It was definitely a learning experi- ence. It was good to see Murray Hewitson [Owaka policeman and search and rescue incident manager] in action.’’
To him it highlighted the difference between rural and urban policing.
‘‘There’s aspects of being a rural policeman that are exciting and different to an urban setting but the goals and principles of policing are the same.’’
Leadley does not think Balclutha has changed much.
‘‘I like that orientated.’’
He knew the Balclutha station’s other relative newcomer, Senior Sergeant Cynthia Fairley, from her days as a detective sergeant based at Gore. Both share a strong belief in community engagement in policing, for crime prevention. it is very community-
Sergeant Jason Leadley, who recently started his new posting in Balclutha.