8 February 2023

'My job is interesting and it challenges me': Cootamundra's new PC says variety is hard to beat

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Constable Aimee O'Leary

Cootamundra PC Aimee O’Leary. Photo: Supplied.

One of Cootamundra’s newest recruits on the beat, Aimee O’Leary, always had an interest in becoming a police officer but had to take a slight detour to wear the blue uniform.

Before pursuing policing, Aimee spent a year in Canada, then returned and studied speech pathology at university for a year, but decided the path was not for her.

“I didn’t like it, and I was living in Sydney and decided, ‘I’ll join the cops now’,” Aimee said.

“The application process was pretty easy … the physical and the psych testing process was smooth.”

The new officer chose the Riverina as her first work location preference and was “very happy” she was assigned to Cootamundra.

“Coming from a small rural town, I wanted to stay rural and didn’t want to go back to Sydney,” she said.

Aimee, who has three siblings, grew up on a farm in a small rural town near Dubbo.

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She said the Riverina and the town of Cootamundra had been “very welcoming” of her.

“The cop family have welcomed me and helped me out,” she said.

“I’ve joined the gym and started playing touch, so everyone gets to know you pretty quickly and they have been very welcoming.”

Aimee began her role as a probationary constable in December 2022 and said the job on the beat had been great so far.

“I’m learning everything … it’s a lot to take in,” she said. “I’m watching and soaking up everything and getting my head around it.

“I’m observing the senior and more experienced cops and learning all their little different ways to approach the job and picking up bits and pieces from everyone.

“I will find what works for me eventually.”

Aimee said the excitement of being a responder was that no two days were the same.

“You could come into work and be off on the job for three hours … it might just be a basic, but it could escalate or de-escalate depending on what happens and who is involved,” she said.

“You wake up and never know … it’s the excitement I like.

“My job is interesting, and it challenges me most days, and I just never know what my day may include.”

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Aimee said she aspired to work in rural crime or with youth.

“There are so many different avenues, and every day I’m learning … I don’t have any plan set in stone. Just take one day as it goes.”

Aimee’s advice for those wanting to pursue policing is to “just give it a go no matter what anyone thinks”.

“The academy is great, and they teach you so many skills, and you are prepared to come out and work at a police station.

“For the first six weeks on the job, there will be someone senior with you and help you in every way … don’t be scared, it’s not a scary job. Everyone is there to support you.

“Everyone respects you for what you do, and it is a rewarding career.”

Aimee said the bonding, friendship and camaraderie she had experienced from the academy to the station had made it feel like “one big, strong family”.

A big coffee drinker, Aimee said her favourite spot to grab a fix in Cootamundra was the Outback Bakery.

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