Officer follows the family way


February 12, 2020 - 37 views

Oamaru's newest police officer is carrying on a proud family tradition of fighting crime.

Constable James McDouall (36) has been in Oamaru for about three weeks, his arrival in North Otago coming after a several-month stint in Dunedin where he began his New Zealand police career after he graduated in May last year.

Given his family history, it could be said it was a given.

‘‘It runs in my family. I am a third-generation police officer and the fifth member of my family to join — I was born into it, I suppose.

‘‘My dad was a senior sergeant in Dunedin for years. I think he did 40 years’ policing, and my granddad and two of my uncles were both police officers down in Dunedin as well.’’

He was drawn to Oamaru because of its size and how it fitted with his preferred style of policing, which he embraced during a six-and-half-year tenure as a police officer in Toowoomba, Winton and Ipswich in Queensland, Australia.

‘‘I have done a lot of country policing in the past and I like to be somewhere I can make more of a impact, not just be another uniform.

‘‘I am pretty laid back and I like to treat people the way they treat me. If I pull someone over and they want to have a yarn, I’ll have a yarn, but if they want to go the other way, we’ll go the other way too.

‘‘You’re not out there to write as many tickets as you can — it’s more about trying to prevent things happening now. If you can pull someone up and say you’re probably heading down the wrong path, that’s enough of a wake-up call for some people.’’

He said there was more drug crime across the Tasman, but family harm and traffic offences were just as prevalent here as they were in Australia.

Const McDouall hoped to one day end up in a small, country police station, but was happy to stay in Oamaru for the foreseeable future.

When not on the beat, he enjoyed hunting and fishing, and relaxing ‘‘as much as I can’’ in Twizel.

daniel.birchfield@odt.co.nz

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