AN INTEREST in medical science led St Marys police's newest recruit, Bethany Elder, to her new career.
Mrs Elder, 29, started her first day as a probationary constable last week.
"I thought being in the police was the best way I could pursue my interest in forensic science," she said.
"Since I was 12 I wanted to do this; my parents worked in hospitals and I'd sometimes go to work with them."
Unlike most people of that age, Bethany had a chance to examine human organs and how they function.
But although she developed an interest in the human body and how it worked, she decided against working with live people.
"I was fascinated by the idea that a single hair, a drop of blood or someone's DNA could be the key factor in convicting a criminal," Mrs Elder said.
"I didn't want to go into the medical industry; other people's pain hurts me.
"It's one thing to examine someone who's dead, but I couldn't work on people who are alive and in pain."
She decided a better option was to help bring justice.
"Law enforcement was the way for me; I love rules and standards, I'm a stickler for rules in my own life," Mrs Elder said.
She completed a degree in criminology, then in forensic science before applying for the NSW Police through the new Accelerated Fingerprint Technician Recruitment Program.
This allows people with suitable academic qualifications to gain a "fast track" into the police's forensic unit after working one year in general duties.
"While general duties is just a stepping stone in my long-term career goal with NSW Police, I'm really keen to get out there and experience as much as I can in the next 12 months," Mrs Elder said.
"I'd like to become a sergeant; maybe an education officer," Mrs Elder said.
"I love passing on skills I've learnt and I'd love to help the police recruits of the future."