CONSTABLES Chisholm, Morgan and Te Rire could become well-known names around Kawerau in the future.
Tarawera High School introduced police studies to its curriculum this year, the first school to do so in the Eastern Bay.
The first day was on Thursday and the students were straight into fitness testing with a Physical Appraisal Test (PAT).
The PAT focuses on four basic elements – running, vertical jumps, grip strength and push ups.
In collaboration with New Zealand Police and Unitec, the Introduction to Police Studies course will be delivered to year 12 and 13 students, preparing them to apply for entry to the Royal New Zealand Police College on completion.
The NCEA level three and four course covers relevant legislation, policies, strategies, procedures and ethics in New Zealand policing over 27 weeks. It also teaches the theory and practice involved in policing.
Eastern Bay police headed to the class on Thursday to assist with the testing.
Kawerau police officers Al Fenwick and George Westerman were joined by Whakatane officers Shane Tailby, Spike Dickey and Yvonne Parker.
Mrs Parker said growing up in the Eastern Bay, she always wanted to be a police officer but wasn’t given the opportunity to study the vocation in college.
“It’s a great opportunity to do something that has only been going for a year at Rotorua boys’ and girls’ high schools.
“It’s refreshing for police, for young people like you to join.”
Mrs Parker has been a police officer for 35 years.
“We have stuck around for a long time because we love the job and we want you to love what you are doing,” she told students.
Mr Fenwick said the police wanted Kawerau people to join the force.
“We encourage you to do your course and give back to the community you grew up in and make it a better place for all.”
School board of trustees chairwoman Pari Maxwell said the course was another opportunity for the students, alongside the successful Defence Academy, taught by Heketerangi Te Maipi, at the school.
Principal Helen Tuhoro said the course was funded by the school and hoped it would assist with a “change of attitude”.
“The students are going to see the police running with them and see that they are people too.
“The course will take away the previous negative connotations and change the way police will be referred to.
“Imagine a future where there is a Constable Te Rire and Constable Chisholm in Kawerau.”
Mrs Tuhoro said five ex-Kawerau students were teachers at the school and believed her students could do the same with the police force.