NZ’s first Mex­i­can po­lice of­fi­cer:

The Southland Times - - National News -

Jorge Al­berto Martinez Padilla al­ways wanted to be a po­lice of­fi­cer – and it was in Auck­land that dream be­came a re­al­ity.

‘‘Sadly in my coun­try of ori­gin, the po­lice is not the same as here,’’ he said.

‘‘You’re not al­ways with the good guys if you’re with the po­lice, so I kept the dream in a drawer.’’

How­ever when he first trav­elled to New Zealand in 2015, he had pos­i­tive in­ter­ac­tions with the po­lice and was im­pressed by their ap­proach­a­bil­ity and in­tegrity.

‘‘I went to open the drawer where I put my dream and started think­ing about it again,’’ he said.

Martinez Padilla be­gan search­ing for a new coun­try to call home af­ter a slew of in­ci­dents in Mex­ico City, which made him feel in­creas­ingly un­safe and un­pro­tected. He be­came ‘‘en­chanted’’ with New Zealand and be­gan the process of be­com­ing a cit­i­zen. ‘‘Im­me­di­ately af­ter I got my res­i­dency my goal was to join the po­lice.’’

The train­ing was the big­gest chal­lenge he had faced in his life un­til now, he said. ‘‘The amount of in­for­ma­tion, the amount of things you have to learn is enor­mous.

‘‘I thought the only chal­lenge would be phys­i­cal or get­ting to the stan­dards of phys­i­cal­ity, but when I faced the real process in col­lege where you sit for hours do­ing ex­ams and learn­ing all this in­for­ma­tion, I was amazed,’’ he said.

Martinez Padilla’s flu­ent Spanish and abil­ity to trans­late has proven in­valu­able since he started with the po­lice.

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