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Eketahuna’s new constable Richie

Richie Day – Eketahuna’s new sole charge constable – has had an exciting start to the role.

Only a few weeks into the new job, he was called out to find a shepherd who, straddling a sheep while attempting to cull the animal, had managed to misfire and shot himself through the wrist.

Day arrived to find the shepherd in a lot of pain.

“I’ve never been to anything like that in my 21 years in the police,” he said.

“He had been holding the sheep’s ear and, when he went to fire, the sheep moved its head and instead he shot himself in the wrist.”

The incident was a reminder that the job constantly presents new situations to deal with, even after more than two decades on the force.

“I always knew I wanted to be in the police,” Day recalled.

“But I ended up going down a different route after a recruiter told me to get ‘life experience’.”

For Day, that path led to serving in the army for nine years, where he was deployed to “war-torn countries” like Bosnia and Bougainville in the ’90s.

“I only planned to do two years in the army, but I liked being sent to different places. I’d love to go back to Bosnia and see what it’s like now.”

Day left the army and entered the police force in Wellington, where he began as a road policing constable.

“Wellington’s fantastic for a new cop. You develop so quickly with the number of incidents you get sent to.

“But with rural, you have more time to deal with things.”

Day is now well and truly at home on the rural police beat, having been working in Wairarapa for over 14 years, in a wide variety of roles that have included sergeant, trainer, and investigator.

A memorable incident for Day was when he and his team rescued a local Masterton woman in a vulnerable position, who then wrote to thank him six years later.

“Most of the time, you intervene with these people at rock bottom and don’t get to hear how they got on. So it was very touching for her to get back in contact.”

One of Day’s favourite roles was working as an officer in charge for South Wairarapa, where he led a staff of 10 attending to emergency incidents.

“That role acted as a catalyst for why I’m in Eketahuna now,” he said.

Day learned of the position when he received an email from the previous sole charge constable, Jhymahl Glassey, advising him it was about to become available.

“It was a real lightbulb moment. I just thought – I would love that role.”

Day has been in the role since February and, despite being the only constable in the township, he doesn’t feel alone.

“If shit hits the fan, I know I can call on Pahiatua, Palmy and Masterton. Because of the relationship I’ve had with them for 14 years, I know they’ll come if I need them.”

The community in Eketahuna has also been welcoming.

“I just walk down the street and there will be someone wanting a chat.

I don’t ever feel like I’m on my own, even though it’s a sole charge role,” Day said.

Evidence to support that claim is almost immediately provided by a patron at the Lazy Graze – Eketahuna’s only café – who stands up to introduce himself and shake Day’s hand as he leaves.

And out on the street, a passing pedestrian cracks a joke and wishes Day a good morning as he strolls on by.

“Rural community policing is what I enjoy,” Day said.

“You have more face-to-face with the community and more interaction.”

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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