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Inspector Jason Guthrie (44) has been named the new area commander, replacing Inspector Greg Sparrow, who retired earlier this year.
Insp Guthrie joined the police 20 years ago, serving in the Dunedin area, including in frontline and administrative roles.
His uncle, Sergeant Stewart Guthrie (41), was killed by gunman David Gray at Aramoana on November 13, 1990.
''The fact that I had a family connection with the police through my uncle was certainly an influence on my decision to join up,'' Insp Guthrie said.
''I'm very proud of his commitment to serve his local community and in particular his response to the tragic events at Aramoana.''
Insp Guthrie has been a member of the Dunedin armed offenders squad since 1998 and for the past 18 months served as AOS commander for Dunedin Clutha Waitaki.
In 2011, he was posted to Afghanistan for seven months, as part of a New Zealand Police contingent in Bamiyan province.
He also helped establish the new Southern district command centre, aimed at crime prevention.
Insp Guthrie, who gained a BCom at the University of Otago, said he was honoured to take up the new role.
''It's an honour for me to lead the outstanding police staff we have in Dunedin Clutha Waitaki and I am looking forward to supporting the fantastic work they do.
''Local communities have every reason to be extremely proud of their police, who work hard to prevent and reduce crime and are committed to ensuring our patch remains one of the safest in the world.
''Although wider Dunedin is a very safe place, we still have plenty of opportunities to make it safer by increasing our crime prevention activities.''
Issues included road safety, alcohol and violence in the home, he said.
''None of these harmful behaviours are acceptable to our community and my intention is to lead a strong crime prevention focus that tackles these issues with vigour.''
Southern district commander Superintendent Andrew Coster said he was delighted to make the appointment as Insp Guthrie brought many key strengths and abilities to the role.
''He's been relieving as area commander for the past few months and, in that short time, has had a very positive impact, demonstrating his ability to tackle important issues and to provide clear direction and focus,'' Supt Coster said.
''I have no doubt that he will play a key part in the Southern district achieving its vision of being the safest place to live and visit.''