NZ’s first Mexican police officer:
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.