MILDURA police Acting Sergeant Shane Garraway, ABOVE, is a prime example of why it’s never too late to change things up, or to pursue your career ambitions.
Acting Sgt Garraway – the latest VicPol member to be featured in the Mildura Weekly’s ‘On the Beat’ series – was in his early 40s when he made the decision to join the police force.
“The police force was always something I was keen to pursue, and in 2011, I applied to join,” he said. “I went through the process, which took around 12 months from the application period to starting at the Police Academy in Glen Waverley in March 2012.”
Always a physically fit and active person, age proved no barrier for Acting Sgt Garraway, who nearly nine years later has climbed the Mildura police ranks.
Born and raised in Mildura, Acting Sgt Garraway completed his schooling in the region before moving to Melbourne for a five-year period in the early 1990s.
“I was working and gaining life experience through a role as a sub-contractor in the security industry, while also living independently with friends,” he said.
“I met a local girl and moved back to Mildura to settle down and live. Shortly after we were married and had two children.”
Acting Sgt Garraway soon found work at a local winery. He started on the bottling line, before working his way up to a supervisor’s position.
“I stayed there for around five years, before going to work for a local printing firm as their commercial printing manager until 2012,” he said.
“During this time I got re-involved in cricket in the Sunraysia Cricket Association, as well as football umpiring in the Sunraysia Football Netball League – something I continue to do today.
“I also coach in both of these fields, and I find it really rewarding to see juniors develop and come through to senior levels in both disciplines.”
In 2011, Acting Sgt Garraway decided the time was right for a career change, with his eyes set firmly on a position with Mildura police.
The process to becoming a cop, however, proved difficult to some extent, with the training process requiring Acting Sgt Garraway to be away from home, and his family, for nine months.
“While I went to Melbourne and was pretty comfortable about being there for nine months, there were a few challenges given I had to leave my family in Mildura for that period,” he said.
“Let’s just say I got to know the road between Mildura and Melbourne very well over that period!
“The nine months went pretty quick, as you are kept busy at the academy, and before I knew it I was back in Mildura in October 2012, working the watch house and van.”
Acting Sgt Garraway said that he had been fortunate in those early years to work with “some very experienced members”.
“I learned a lot from them during the next few years, and it opened my eyes to family violence, and drug-related issues within the community – something that I didn’t know much about prior to joining,” he said.
During this career, Acting Sgt Garraway has been lucky enough to secure firstly a six-month secondment at the Divisional Tasking Unit, targeting recidivist offenders and bail offences, while also enjoying a 12-month stint at the Divisional Response Unit targeting drug trafficking.
“I have now settled back into uniform, and have secured an upgrade into the position of Acting Sergeant for the last 11 months – a position that is both challenging and rewarding,” he said.
Acting Sgt Garraway said that when it comes to joining Victoria Police, age should not be a factor.
“I would recommend a career within Victoria Police to people both young or old, with Mildura as a place to live and work to anyone already in policing or looking to further their experience within Victoria Police,” he said.
“Mildura has a number of specialist units to choose from to challenge both your skills and knowledge.”