Army, Fire, Police and then Dad
One of New Zealand’s newest cops has already been an army medic and a firefighter, but his most important role will start any day now and it doesn’t require a new uniform.
Sometime between graduating at the top of his class and starting work as a Porirua constable, Joseph Konlechner will become a first time dad.
‘‘I’m pretty nervous to be honest. It’s really pretty scary.’’
Winning the award for being the top student was a surprise for Konlechner, but he wasn’t the first in his family to achieve the honour. His sister Esther took out the award three years ago.
‘‘I was totally awed by her achievements and I was quite happy to follow in her footsteps. She came to watch me graduate, which was amazing.’’
The graduation was the finale of four months training at the police college in Porirua and Konlechner spent all that time away from his wife Samantha.
‘‘That was the hardest part of the training, being away from her. She’s amazing and I couldn’t have done it without her support.’’
The top new cop joined the New Zealand Army at 17 and recommended the experience to all young people.
‘‘It’s definitely something good for anyone who isn’t sure what they want to do. It teaches you a great work ethic and looks really good on your CV.’’
He spent seven years as an army medic and was deployed to Papua New Guinea as part of a multinational humanitarian operation.
‘‘My first role was triage at mass aid stations, providing much needed medical care. My second role was constructing small buildings in remote villages.
‘‘To this day helping those people was one of the most rewarding things I have done.’’
After he met Samantha, an ambulance officer, he left army life and spent 31⁄ years with the fire service, which he loved.
‘‘They’re based on responsive reaction, but I’m really keen on prevention, which is why I joined the cops.
‘‘You go to a car crash and see the aftermath, but I’m looking forward to working with the community to stop these things before they happen.’’
A big part of the training he received at the college was based on prevention.
‘‘We were constantly told to think about the ‘one more’ principle, especially when it comes to dealing with family violence.
‘‘We’re taught that after you respond and after you have done all the things you have to do, you need to think of the one more thing you can to do help those people.’’
The training course was tough, but he had made some great mates.
Joseph Konlechner is following in sister Esther’s footsteps by graduating top of his wing from Police College.