Time spent working closely with police during a stint as a reporter in Albany paved the way for Jessica Cuthbert to embark on a career in the blue uniform. Ms Cuthbert will be among the 49 latest police officers to graduate from the WA Police Academy on Thursday, a move that even the ambitious 26-year-old thought would not be possible just a few years ago. It has been a whirlwind couple of years for the former Albany local, leaving her role at the Albany Advertiser in 2019 to join the media section of the WA Police Union and then finally on to her latest and most challenging part of her life as an aspiring police officer. Growing up in Albany and completing high school, she started as a cadet reporter at the Advertiser, going on to cover health, arts, education and tourism. However, a shift to crime and court reporting planted the seed for Ms Cuthbert to embark on perhaps her greatest task. Six months in, the WA Police Academy has Ms Cuthbert ready for the frontline, a daunting but exciting time in her life. “The past six months at the academy have been an absolute whirlwind,” she said. “It’s been challenging, exciting, fun and rewarding. “I’ve achieved more than I thought I was capable of and made incredible friendships along the way. “I have put blood, sweat and tears into this training and have proved what I am capable of. Ms Cuthbert said it had not been an easy ride, pushed out of her comfort zone with exhaustive physical testing, legal studies and weapons training. Her partner is also a serving officer of more than five years and has been an invaluable support during the academy process. Ms Cuthbert said working directly with police during her time at the Advertiser was a key reason she is where she is today. “This is where I developed an interest in policing and emergency services,” she said. “I loved seeing firsthand the work that police officers did in the community and the impact they had in implementing change, it was a career I knew I wanted to be a part of someday.” She then she met incredible and inspiring police officers and helped share their stories in the role with the WA Police Union and enjoyed fighting for better work conditions and entitlements. Ms Cuthbert, who lived in Albany for 22 years, said there was always an attraction to become a police officer. “I wanted to join WA Police Force to be a part of a dynamic, fast-paced and challenging career that gave me an opportunity to make a change in the community,” Ms Cuthbert said. “To help protect people and prevent crime, to grow professionally and individually and seek opportunities to work throughout our beautiful State. “A career goal of mine will be to work in regional WA in a small country town where I can influence positive change within the community. “I would love to look back on my career in many years to come and be remembered for my work in preventing family violence and child abuse, for being an officer that always went above and beyond to help those in need, an officer who always demonstrated kindness and was a role model to children. “Everyone has the capability to make a difference and positive change. Through policing I believe I will.” Ms Cuthbert is one of 36 men and 13 women graduating form the green and grey squads on Thursday, officially welcomed by Police Commissioner Col Blanch and Police Minister Paul Papalia. They are the last of 339 recruits to graduate from the academy in 2023, along with another 43 transitional officers by the end of December.