Senior Constable Graeme Ferguson, of Balclutha, does not let much get in his way.
In his spare time, Snr Const Ferguson is a martial arts black belt and a road cyclist, but he says his day jobs as a policeman and Balclutha Fire Brigades’s chief fire officer keep him busy.
“I have been a police officer for 20-plus years now .. I have been chief fire officer for about 10 years,” Snr Const Ferguson said.
He trained to be a police officer in Porirua.
“It was hard work getting there, but once you’re there it’s a great career. The job certainly has ups and downs.”
Although he had been policing longer, Snr Const Ferguson’s first experience in the emergency services was with the Kaka Point Volunteer Fire Brigade.
“That was an auxiliary of the Balclutha brigade.
“I then shifted to Balclutha and took a position up in the private sector.
“After that I transferred to the Balclutha brigade and went up through the ranks and got CFO.”
Snr Const Ferguson said he was the chief of 31 men and women in the Balclutha Volunteer Fire Brigade.
During his time in the emergency services, he said he had seen many things.
“I’ve seen a couple of homicides, floods and natural disasters.
“And violence, I’ve seen some serious violence.”
The most rewarding part of being a policeman was being able to help people, he said.
“Being in such a small station, you build a relationship with the community.
“That’s quite the same with the fire brigade.”
Snr Const Ferguson said he had learnt to draw a line between the two jobs.
If there was a serious incident, he was able to switch duties if it was really necessary.
“When we lost one of our members in a truck crash, first I went on the fire truck, then I was a policeman and then back to the fire truck ..
“That was the only time I had to do both.
“That was pretty traumatic, having to deal with losing one of our own.”
As a police officer, Snr Const Ferguson had also done relief work in smaller places.
“I went to Bougainville Island for seven months and assisted the Bougainville Island police force in a major civil war.”
In all his years, the one true lesson he had learned was to appreciate his family, he said.
“I say to my brigade: family first, job second and emergencies third.”