WIMMERA police have started a recruitment drive aimed at encouraging people in the region to join the force.
Horsham police service area has received State Government money to recruit nine new members, including a sergeant, this financial year.
Horsham Senior Sergeant Brendan Broadbent said the appointment of new police officers would coincide with an upgrade of facilities at Horsham Police Station.
The police station's cells are being renovated to meet modern safety standards.
"The new members will help to service the Wimmera-Mallee region better," Sen Sgt Broadbent said.
"There is a career pathway to follow in the police force.
"There are options to join sections such as the highway patrol and crime investigation unit.
"We work hard to give that training for people here.
"Police work offers variety; members don't know what they will get to do day-to-day.
"The other thing is, it's always a challenge.
"We would be fortunate to fill the vacancies here.
"We encourage people who have family and friends in the region to join the force."
Sen Sgt Broadbent admitted it was difficult to recruit new members from Melbourne.
"People look at the distance between the Wimmera and the city, but they don't see the benefits here," he said.
"There are many more opportunities here for career progression and development.
"If someone in a management position goes on leave, that vacancy gets filled.
"So there are real opportunities to be upgraded here."
Sen Sgt Broadbent is originally from Beaufort and has spent 25 years in the force.
He worked at Warrnambool before moving to the Wimmera for a promotion in 2007.
"I really enjoy the challenges here and the close community," Sen Sgt Broadbent said.
Acting Senior Sergeant Guin Cleminson was born in Melbourne and has been in policing for 12 years.
She moved to the Wimmera two years ago for a promotion.
Acting Sen Sgt Cleminson had earlier spent 18 months at Kaniva Police Station nine years ago.
"I was in the highway patrol for four years in Melbourne," she said.
"There is a close group of people here and policing is more personal.
"We believe a lot of people in the Wimmera community would have a lot to offer by joining the force."
* See future editions of the Mail-Times for stories about members who have chosen to work in the Wimmera.