Bairnsdale Police Station has recently appointed two new sergeants to the ranks.
Sergeants Scott Gray and Clayton White are from some of the toughest crime beats in Melbourne but have chosen to relocate to East Gippsland to experience life in regional Victoria.
While the move is an opportunity for career advancement, both men told the Advertiser they recently purchased houses in the area and are planning to stay for some time.
Sgt White has been with the police force for 10 years and arrived in East Gippsland with his family in June.
He is familiar with the area because his wife’s family has a cattle farm in Buchan and is pleased to be raising his two young children in the countryside.
“I love the lifestyle, there’s less traffic, and we have a house on an acre block, which you wouldn’t find in Melbourne,” he said.
Sgt White previously worked in the St Kilda area busting drug crimes and was involved in long-term investigations.
At one stage he was attached to the Echo Taskforce, which focused on bikie gangs.
“I loved it, it was very proactive work against organised crime,” Sgt White told the Advertiser.
Prior to joining the police force, Sgt White had worked in hospitality as a bar tender, which he believes helped sow the seeds for his next career move.
“Hospitality involves a range of communication skills, solving problems and being able to calm people down,” he said.
Having become accustomed to shift work, Sgt White said policing is a job which is rarely boring and its unpredictability is an enjoyable aspect.
Out of work, Sgt White says he loves to spend time with the kids, play golf and keep physically fit.
Sgt Gray was born and bred in the western suburbs of Melbourne and has been with the police force for 15 years.
While most of his policing work has been concentrated in the areas in which he grew up, he was posted to Bairnsdale for two years, in 2007, as his inaugural country stint before returning to Melbourne.
For the past eight years, he has been a detective attached to both the Melbourne and Geelong Criminal Investigation Units.
Sgt Gray has also worked with the drug response unit and high volume crime team.
From a very young age, Sgt Gray says he always knew he wanted to be a police officer.
However, after leaving school he decided to go onto university and study computer systems and electronic engineering which lead to jobs at IBM, Telstra and the global advertising company, FCB.
After using his multiple talents to sell real estate in the western suburbs, Sgt Gray realised it was time to fulfill his childhood ambition and join the police force.
“Real estate was a good lifestyle but I didn’t see it as a lifetime career,” Sgt Gray said.
“I was 26 years old when I signed up to join the police force.”
Like Sgt White, Sgt Gray says “not knowing what you’re doing from one day to the next” is a motivating factor in choosing to be involved in policing.
He says a new initiative the police force has rolled out to ensure more community engagement between police and members of local communities is proving successful.
CommConnect is an approach to policing that aims to strengthen the relationships between local police and the communities they serve by ensuring the same police officers are deployed to particular areas.
“To have a more personnel connection with the communities and to be able to solve crime and take charge of those areas is rewarding,” Sgt Gray said.
When he’s not in uniform, Sgt Gray loves nothing better than exploring the local area with his partner and her two school aged children.
He also loves to spend time with his family on the water, boating and fishing.
“The lifestyle that East Gippsland offers is certainly attractive to staying here,” Sgt Gray said.
Sergeant Scott Gray in the watchhouse at the Bairnsdale Police Station last week. K449-7978