Want to get your SADD committee involved with the local Police? Sergeant Wayne Paxton has some great advice! Wayne lets us in on why and how you can work together with the Police. He suggests activity ideas, how to become a police officer and, most importantly, tells us the three things he’d take to a deserted island.
What’s your job?
Currently one of two Road Policing supervisors in the Counties Manukau South area, based in Pukekohe. This is my 18th year with a mix of frontline, rural policing and Road Policing roles.
In your opinion, what’s the best thing about being a Police Officer?
I love working with and in the community I reside in. The opportunity to work with community groups, schools and our partnership agencies is extremely rewarding. Some of the hardest things we deal with can be the most fulfilling, as it’s an opportunity to do everything you can to make a difference for that victim, person or family.
What does Road Safety mean to you?
Road Safety is about making the roads in Tamaki Makaurau and Aotearoa as safe as possible. For me it’s about first changing the mind-set of our younger drivers. They are the ones that will influence and drive a change in peoples’ attitude to road safety.
Why should SADD groups involve the local Police in their activities?
I have been lucky enough to be given opportunities to work alongside SADD leadership groups and SADD conference attendees. From those experiences I have found that it opened a number of avenues for the Police to work alongside influential student leaders. It was also a great way for those students to ask open and honest questions and not feel they were being judged. It’s a fantastic partnership, particularly having students talking directly to drivers and their peers about road safety.
How can they contact them?
Make contact with either your local “SCO’s” School Community officers, Community Constables or Road Policing staff. If you don’t have any luck have a chat to your SADD rep and they can make contact with me and see if we can point you in the right direction.
What's your suggestion for how SADD groups can work with Police?
Let’s look at SADD’s 6 Principles:
Sober Drivers, Safe Speeds, No Distractions: organise to join local Road Policing staff at evening alcohol checkpoints or speed and distraction operations. Messaging to drivers from SADD students can be rewarding to those compiling and supportive to enforcement.
Avoiding Risks, Driving to the Conditions: again, organise to meet police staff at focused operations targeting fatigued drivers, safety around railway corridors, and safe driving in adverse conditions such as foggy mornings. Try approaching a couple of local mobile coffee providers and have them join you at a morning safety checkpoint and give out warm beverages to those driving safely and to the conditions.
Building Experience: Utilise the ideas within the SADD Driver Education Package and have police staff join you at your school to run some fun-based road safety messaging programmes. Maybe try organising to have a Mobile Road Safety Base (booze bus) brought into the school as a talking point around sober driving.
What’s your best experience working with SADD?
I have been involved in the local leadership conferences, national conferences, SADD organised school visits/discussion groups and locally run alcohol checkpoints. I must say watching our future leaders interacting with drivers and spreading such positive messages is so heart-warming and makes everything seem so worth it.
If someone wants to be a Police Officer, what should they do?
Keep an eye out for any recruitment seminars in your area or log into https://apply.newcops.co.nz
You could also look to organise a recruitment night if there is enough interest and have recruitment staff or local staff talk to the attendees. Talk to your school careers advisor about having staff visit your school and run a presentation around recruitment.
Do you prefer driving automatic or manual?
I don’t have a particular preference but I must say you can’t beat an automatic when you are stuck in motorway traffic!!!!
What was your worst subject at high school?
Mmmmmmmmm where do I start!!!! Actually I loved being at school. I enjoyed hanging out with my mates and playing every sport available, but I just wasn’t that flash at the academic side of things. Take every opportunity you get given whilst you are there and always strive to do your best.
You’re stuck on a deserted island. What three things do you take with you?
Ice cold water, chocolate, cheese “n” crackers ( the “n” makes it one thing!)
What’s your take away message for us?
Keep working hard and bring others on board with you, particularly those younger students in your school or community who can carry on the great work that you have started. Find and work with influential people or organisations within your community- we need each other to make a difference.
Thanks to Wayne for your ongoing support and for sharing your tips with us :)
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