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.

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