Clutha gains new sergeant

Clutha Leader - - DELTA ROD AND CUSTOM CLUB - MARY-JO TO­HILL

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-

MARY-JO TO­HILL/STUFF

Sergeant Ja­son Leadley, who re­cently started his new post­ing in Bal­clutha.

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