Inspired by the Humans of New York photoblog, we’re showcasing some of the incredible stories and experience of people throughout our organisation.
James - Detective Senior Sergeant, Child Protection
"I grew up in Wainuiomata in the 1980s. After leaving school, when all my mates went to university or took up a trade, I worked for the Inland Revenue and this prepared me well in customer services. By the time I joined Police I was used to dealing with all sorts of people, whether they were happy to see me or not!
"I spent the ‘90s playing rugby league for my beloved Wainuiomata rugby league club. I played at various levels and was lucky enough to play with other police officers and some fantastic players who later became famous All Blacks or Kiwi rugby league players.
"I got to play alongside former police officer Ken Laban, a Pacific leader, who was instrumental in me joining Police. Unfortunately, or fortunately, my career as a tax collector suffered and it would be safe to say that not a lot of tax work was done in that time. To this day I still have no idea how to fill out a tax return!
"My mum always believed (and prayed) that I would one day join Police. My mum and dad were part of the Pacific migration from Samoa in the ‘60s and ‘70s and Mum has worked as a police employee for over 45 years.
"My late father-in-law was a dog handler in the ‘80s, my younger brother was a police officer in Counties Manukau for over a decade in the ‘90s and my older brother is a Corrections officer, so I was always going to end up doing something in the community, and that’s why I joined Police in 1997.
"Throughout my career I have worked in the Public Safety Team (PST), Youth and Community, Family Harm, recruit instructing and the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB). I am currently the National Coordinator for Child Protection based in Police National Headquarters.
"I believe policing is all about providing a service to victims and I still enjoy getting out of bed to do what I do.
"I remember working in my first homicide investigation 19 years ago as a young eager Detective Constable. The victims were two sisters aged 11 and 12 years who were murdered by their mother’s partner. This case stood out for me because it was totally preventable.
"We did not have the inter-agency information-sharing processes we have now and I can honestly say, hand on heart, that both girls would still be alive today if the current set-up we now have with child protection investigations and family harm processes was in place all those years ago.
"Although I have moved around to other serious crime groups over the years, this case left an indelible impression on me and I still consider this area of policing as God’s work."