Life in the police force can be gruelling, dangerous and demanding, but it can also be incredibly rewarding.
It is the rewards that has kept Riverina Police District Inspector Peter McLay dedicated to the job for more than three decades.
Celebrating 33 years with the NSW Police Force tomorrow, Inspector McLay said wearing blue was something he'd always had his mind set on.
"I always wanted to be with the police right through school, it was a good, secure job opportunity, and certainly my father steered me toward joining because he saw those benefits of job security too," he said.
"Especially now, during a pandemic like this, you start to see just how lucky you are to still have a job."
But Inspector McLay soon learnt that job security was just a small element of what made his career worthwhile.
"Whether it be finding a missing child or saving someone's life when they tried to take their own, there are so many real differences we make and that is what's truly rewarding," he said.
The job was not without its challenges, though, both on duty and in the public eye.
"There are certainly many challenges on the job every day, and that's enough without the element of social negativity too," Inspector McLay said.
"I spent 13 years as a forensics officer on crime scenes from 1990-2003, so I have many memories of bad things which I will carry with me for life.
"You try and put those aside, though, and think about the positive things and making a difference to people's lives.
"Despite lots of tragedy and death and destruction, what you remember most fondly is people just saying 'thank you', because it doesn't happen all that often."
Inspector McLay said 33 years has presented many changes along the way, from the name of the force down to the weapons they carry and the technology available.
"When I joined, we still had type writers and carbon paper," he said.
"We'd carry revolvers around and had long batons in the car, plus a couple of spare bullets and a pair of hand cuffs, that's it.
"But now, even just on the belts there's so much more gear and different options of ways to carry it."
In other news:
Drug culture has also seen significant change over the years, according to Inspector McLay.
"There was no such thing as Ice, or methamphetamines, when I first joined - It was mainly cannabis and heroin," he said.
"Now, there's so many different illicit substances on the street to be aware of like LSD, MDMA and cocaine."
Inspector McLay said mental health awareness was another area which has changed dramatically.
"There is a lot more recognition around depression and mental health issues," he said.
"In the 80s and 90s, you'd pretty much cart someone off to the hospital in that instance and often wondered what would happen to them, but these days it's better, however we still have room for improvement."
Working alongside Inspector McLay for the past seven years is Riverina Police District Commander Superintendent Bob Noble, who spoke of his colleague and good friend in the highest regard.
"Peter is so well balanced, his integrity is of the highest standard and he's an absolute joy to have on the team," he said.
"If you found yourself the victim of a nasty crime, or involved in serious car crash and you're injured, traumatised, and feeling very vulnerable, he's exactly the sort of person you'd like to step up to the scene of the accident and say, 'I'm here to look after you'.
"He certainly inspires a sense of safety, strength and comfort, and that alongside empathy, compassion and intelligence really makes for the perfect police officer."
Superintendent Noble and Inspector McLay's paths first crossed unknowingly in 1991, during the infamous case of the 'Lakemba Chicken Shop Murder'.
"My first posting was to the Lakemba Police Station, and on my first week that infamous chicken shop murder happened, which was particularly brutal, very violent," Superintendent Noble said.
"Fast forward 24 years, I arrived here as Commander and Peter is one of the fairly freshly minted inspectors here, so we're talking about our respective careers and it turns out, Peter's first homicide investigation as a forensic crime scene investigator was the chicken shop murder.
"So right from the outset, I had an affinity with Pete, and I hope I get to spend many more years yet working alongside him."