New challenge . . . Constable Mitch McRae, of Oamaru, is relishing his new career. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Former top-level triathlete and basketball player Mitch McRae is sporting a new uniform. Kayla Hodge chats to the new Oamaru police constable about his career change.

Q What are you most excited about, being on the beat in your home town?

Being in an area that I am familiar with. Oamaru is a nice place to live. So, I’m excited to be present in an area that gave me opportunities early on in my life.

Q How long had being a police officer been on your mind, and what gave you the push to change careers?

Since school it has been on my mind, but I was keen to get some life experiences. It was something I had always talked about with my wife, and she was a big part of starting the process to join the police.

Q Before becoming a police officer you were the co-ordinator at Sport Waitaki and at Sport Clutha. Tell me about those roles.

Both were really good community roles, so it was a good opportunity for me to help out in the various ways that the regional roles offer to the community, and share my knowledge that I had gained through my experiences.

Q You previously played for the Otago Nuggets. Tell me about that experience.

It was a good experience – so exciting to see them win last year in the Covid-19 revamped competition. I’m looking forward to watching them back in the NBL this year.

Q And you were a top-level triathlete. What are some highlights from those days?

I love the sport of triathlon – it’s a mental and physical challenge over three different disciplines where you can enjoy the the many beautiful race locations we have but also to push and challenge yourself to push see how fast you can go. I enjoy the competitive side of triathlon.

Q Do you think the skills you’ve learned through sport will help you in your new career?

Yes, definitely – the roles were both out there in the community, working with people, clubs, groups, so your relationship building and communication was huge, which crosses over well with being a police officer.

Q What has the change in career been like for you?

A bit different to what I was doing, but probably the best decision I have made. There are so many career opportunities in the police, so I’m looking forward to what the future might hold for me.

Q What do you think is the most important role police play in smaller communities like Oamaru?

Being seen and working with the community.

Q What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy training, being up at the lakes, playing some basketball and hanging out with my wife.