After 15 years working in an industry he had little passion for, Adam Presutti made the leap to pursue his lifelong career ambition.
The then-35-year-old applied for Victoria Police in 2015, and doubted whether he would tick the right boxes.
"I honestly didn't think I'd get in, from an academic point of view - I finished school at the end of year 10," he said.
"Yes I could write an email, but I had to do essays. For one test, I passed by one mark.
"But I went through the process, and here I am."
First Constable Presutti received his letter of offer in 2017, and not long into his time at the Victoria Police Academy at Glen Waverley, the state government's promise of 3135 new police began to flow through.
"It got pretty hectic from there on - there were people everywhere," he said.
"We were actually squad one of the promise of all the new police.
"They say it's an adult learning environment, and they're right about that. Yes, they're strict, but they're fair and they support you."
Looking back on those 31 weeks, First Constable Presutti said it was challenging.
"I can't say I loved the academy - but I made friends for life, and we all went back for a course when you go from Constable to First Constable, and we only had one person pull out."
He graduated in February last year, after two weeks on the beat in Melbourne, stints with departments like traffic control, and a week at Wodonga station - where he arrested someone on his first day in training.
"I got Richmond as my station - I was about to get shipped off - and then they gave me a job here," he said.
"Wodonga is great and it's a pretty popular station.
"It takes a while to settle in and find your feet ... and the next minute, you're teaching new members."
First Constable Presutti will speak about his journey from working in the motoring industry to now at an information session for those interested in joining Victoria Police on Tuesday, from 6pm to 8pm at Hothouse Theatre on the Lincoln Causeway.
"My message will be, if you want to have a go at it - do it. They can only say no," he said.
"I was talking to a guy the other day, and he was worried about the swimming component.
"I can't swim well either - I practised that - and you can go to the VicPol website and learn how to set up the agility test.
"You get nine weeks off a year, and there's some in the job working together and they make shift work work with kids - 100 per cent it's doable.
"Yeah you see some nasty stuff, but we talk about it.
"I'm more relaxed than I've ever been."
First Constable Presutti is enjoying working in general duties but thinks highway patrol might be an interesting unit to work in, in the future.
"You could be in highway patrol, in the canine unit - you can have a holiday within the organisation," he said.
"I wish I had done it 10 years earlier.
"I'm glad it didn't do it when I finished school, I don't think I would have lasted - but we need 18-year-olds, we need both genders - you want diversity like what there is in the community.
"The average age for our squad was 28, and I was the third-oldest - we had a 50-year-old in our squad.
"You do something different everyday ... and I love it."
New police stations give room to grow
Rutherglen police station's redevelopment gives room for Sergeant Brian Curran's team to expand in the future.
The former station on High Street built in the 1960s was pulled down to make way for a modern building with a holding cell.
"The biggest benefit is we have got a state-of-the-art facility, a secure custody area, and good-quality facilities for the public," he said.
"We have a public consultation area where people can have a private conversation and not have to come through to the actual station."
In past years, portable cells have had to be brought in during Winery Walkabout weekend.
But for this year's event, the new holding cell could be used.
"We had 20 to 30 police using this facility over that weekend and they fit in quite comfortably," Sergeant Curran said.
"There's room to expand, if we get more members in the future."
The history of the former building goes back to 1967, the year the first Rutherglen Wine Festival was held. The brick veneer station replaced a timber building and was added to over the years, until it was decommissioned in July 2018.
Sergeant Curran started at Rutherglen in 2000 as one of four officers at the station - there are now five.
'More members coming to region' in drive
The police region covering Wodonga and Wangaratta has so far received 10 additional police as part of the Andrews government's commitment to deliver 3135 new officers by 2022.
The 'Be a Force for Good' recruitment campaign began in 2017 and more than 1900 new police have been deployed so far.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman said Eastern Region Division 4 had received additional members as part of 2018 and 2019 resources announcements.
"We anticipate further announcements during the coming years," she said.
"In recent years Wodonga and Wangaratta have received in excess of 25 Police Custody Officers that have been incorporated into our frontline response rather than looking after prisoners."
The Eastern Region Division 4 covers more than 17,000 square kilometres and includes 11 16-hour stations and two 24-hour stations, at Wodonga and Wangaratta - the latter of which is the divisional headquarters.
Victoria Police's employee data shows at September 2019, the total resources for Eastern Region Division 4 included 285 police - compared to 276 in September 2018.
There are 107 police working in the Wangaratta police service area and 84 in Wodonga, plus a number of other divisional resources including 16 members in the crime investigation unit, 22 divisional highway patrol officers, and a sexual offences and child abuse investigation team.
In September, a Farm Crime Co-ordination Unit was announced and the Victoria Police spokeswoman said 70 former Agricultural Liaison Officers had become Farm Crime Liaison Officers.
"Our Farm Crime Coordination Unit was announced during September 2019 and Inspector Karl Curran is our Victoria Police appointment to the Farm Crime Inspector's role," she said.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"In the North East region there are 10 Farm Crime Liaison Officers in ED 4."
Crime Statistics Agency data shows the offence rate per 100,000 population for the year ending June 2019 in Wodonga was the lowest since 2013, at 7817.2, and in Wangaratta, was the lowest since 2012, at 8056.6.
In both cities drug-specific offences have been trending upwards over the last nine years - there were 255 recorded offences in Wodonga and 249 in Wangaratta.