The skills Clinton Parsons developed as a high school teacher have so far served him well in his new career as a police officer - although the reasons people get in trouble are quite different.
"There are a lot of similar skills in terms of communication and dealing with people, but on a whole different level," he said.
Constable Parsons is one of two probationary officers who have been stationed at Lake Illawarra Local Area Command.
Donning the blue uniform is something Const Parsons, 30, has always wanted to do, and after years of working as a teacher and travelling, he finally pursued his dream.
The past month on the job has lived up to his expectations - his days are diverse, challenging and at times there is a lot of paperwork.
"One minute you're at a motor vehicle accident and the next at a domestic and then on to break and enter, so it's very diverse," Const Parsons said.
As a bonus, the Illawarra man was stationed close to home, as was his fellow probationary officer, Lisa Imisides.
From Kiama, the 41-year-old was overjoyed to get a position at Lake Illawarra.
She too fulfilled a life-long desire to become a police officer, after waiting until her children were old enough to allow her to pursue the career.
She spent four months at the NSW Police Academy in Goulburn this year, the time away from her family a challenge but worth the learning experience.
"It's a diverse job, full of lots of different tasks and it's a way of giving back to the community and helping those less fortunate than myself," Const Imisides said.
"I've enjoyed meeting lots of different people, being able to help where I can. You see a whole different side of life and realise there is good and bad out there."
Both constables are on general duties for the next three years.