Former Volt facing new challenge

Constable Neil Rushton has been posted to the Oamaru Police Station. Photo by Rebecca Ryan.
Constable Neil Rushton has been posted to the Oamaru Police Station. Photo by Rebecca Ryan.
A new police officer is walking the beat in Oamaru, but he is no stranger to the town.

Constable Neil Rushton has filled the vacancy left by Senior Constable Stew Hewett and started work at the Oamaru Police Station this week.

Const Rushton, a former Otago Volts player, was one of 76 graduates from the Royal New Zealand Police College last month and one of four to be posted within the Southern Police District.

He has moved the family back to his home town, where he attended Waitaki Boys' High School and later spent five years as a housemaster.

''I was born and raised here and something about the place draws you back,'' he said.

Before joining the police force, he worked for Whitestone Contracting in Oamaru, before a transfer to Twizel for six years.

He also worked as a sexton for the Christchurch City Council.

Dealing with grieving families as a sexton in Christchurch and Oamaru was an experience he would bring to the force.

''You need those life skills, life experiences,'' he said.

As well as helping others, an appeal for joining the force was becoming a good role model for others, especially his children.

''I've got young children so I want them to grow up and see me as a [role mode], even follow in my footsteps, maybe,'' he said.

For now, he is focused on the next two years of probational constable duties.

''Basically just get out, help people, protect people and get all the baddies off the street,'' he said.

''I've got plenty to learn coming out of police college. It's a whole different ball game altogether now.''

When not in the blue uniform, he is looking forward to wearing the whites of a cricket uniform again.

Growing up playing cricket in Oamaru, he also played for the Otago Volts between 2000 and 2004.

Despite interest from other clubs since his return, Const Rushton said he would be sticking to his Union roots.

''It'll be good to get back into cricket, either playing or coaching,'' Const Rushton said.

He has also played football for Meadowbank United.

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