BENJAMIN Pittman dreamed of being a police officer ever since he did year 10 work experience with the unit in Hay.
But the teenager struggled academically, and failed to get the grades needed at school.
Now thanks to a special program at Riverina TAFE, the 19-year-old has been earmarked as one to watch within police trainee ranks.
“Since I was 16, I was interested joining and had the police bug,” Mr Pittman said.
“I was always worried with the academic side of things because I wasn’t a very organised person, my careers advisor contacted me after school last year and told me about IPROWD.”
On Monday morning Mr Pittman was among eight who graduated from Indigenous Police Recruitment Our Way Delivery (IPROWD).
The program is designed to accelerate Aboriginal representation on the force with a pathway to police study through TAFE.
Mr Pittman was also recognised with the Gibbs Award, a prize given to mark overall outstanding achievement.
The award was presented by program coordinator Peter Gibbs in memory of his sister who died in police custody in 1997.
“I’m very proud, I’ve had a lot of good feedback about what I am doing,” Mr Pittman said.
“Back home I am pretty well know by all the local police, my sergeant from Hay has actually come here [today] and surprised me.”
Hay Sergeant Ben Clavel said he was pleased to see how far Mr Pittman had come.
It was great to see someone from a rural area like Hay being recognised, he said.
“Hay is a small town, it’s a fairly tight knit community where you know basically everyone,” Sergeant Clavel said. “I hope he will be able to finish it all off and be able to wear the uniform with us.”
Mr Pittman said he wants to become a police officer with the dog squad or highway patrol.