For some police officers, taking on a rural posting can seem like a necessary hurdle in the climb to the top.
But for Constable Mitchell Bull, it was a dream come true.
Recently moving to Kyabram from the big smoke of South Melbourne, Const Bull is eager to trade the monotony of city policing for the warmth and community focus of the town. And to invest in Kyabram’s young people, just as rural police had invested in him.
Const Bull traces his interest in country policing back to his final years of high school.
It was 2012 and he had been transplanted from Melbourne to a tiny North American town of 800 people named Isle, Minnesota.
Wrestling with difficulties in school and family life at the time, Const Bull’s life did a 180 when three police officers took him under their wing.
‘‘They really took care of me. The second I came back to Australia I joined Vic Police. And that’s why I’ve come to Ky — to help other country kids in the same way those officers helped me,’’ he said.
Returning to Australian soil with a newfound passion for youth work, Const Bull threw himself into studies, attending the Victoria Police Academy while completing a Diploma of Youth Work and a Diploma of Community Services.
Graduating from the academy in 2014, it was not long before Const Bull was engaging with at-risk youth in the community through daily police work and volunteering with the St Kilda Police Citizens Youth Club.
‘‘Before I left Melbourne, I would have been interacting with about 60 young people in the community each week,’’ he said.
‘‘We had an open door policy, so lots of kids would come in for a chat or would know where to find me. We’d sit and chat about anything and everything.
‘‘Sometimes I’d even help them with their homework. I’ve gotten much better at Year 9 maths.’’
Const Bull said there was a desperate need for police officers to support youth in their community.
‘‘It’s crucial to sit down with kids for a chat to find the root cause of their actions, rather than just throwing them straight before the court where they could get caught in the justice system,’’ he said.
‘‘By discussing young people’s offending, we can possibly negate it from happening again further down the track.’’
Const Bull said his open door policy would continue at his new posting in Kyabram and encouraged people to visit for a chat.
‘‘I hope to be a resource for young people who think they don’t have any more avenues to go down. It helps as I’m young and can relate to them. Plus I get it — I’ve been there before,’’ he said.