THERE'S getting thrown in the deep end, and then there's getting dropped into the depths of the Mariana Trench - the latter is a more accurate representation of Tracy Chapman's start to life as Acting Commander of the Hunter Valley Police District.
However, the experienced officer has handled it with aplomb and is settling into her new role well despite difficult circumstances.
In the first three weeks in the position she's been doing her best to fill the void left by former Superintendent Chad Gillies, who was recently moved to the Port Stephens-Hunter (PSH) area.
Acting Commander Chapman is well-equipped to deal the with constantly moving guidelines regarding COVID-19 restrictions though, having shown her ability to manage crisis situations during her time as PSH district Acting Commander where she helped its various communities navigate the danger of last summer's devastating bushfires during her six months in that role.
She believes the lessons learned during those tough times will help her coordinate the challenges currently facing the local police force.
"It was obviously another time of emergency management issues while I was at Port Stephens, we went through some fire issues and then subsequently some flood issues," she said.
"So, I feel certainly from an emergency management perspective that six months was really good for some experience."
Experience is something Acting Commander Chapman is well acquainted to, having fulfilled a number of positions throughout her 25-year career thus far.
She started her life in law enforcement in Sydney, but has been in the Hunter Region - where she grew up - since in 2010.
Areas such as general duties, proactive policing teams, intelligence, specialist commands and human resource roles have made up her impressive CV to this point.
Having been around the region for a while now, she is well aware of the different nuances and focuses of particular areas in what is a relatively large police district.
"There are different community needs at different locations," Acting Commander Chapman said.
"So, for instance, something that we really need to reinforce and be on top of in Muswellbrook might be very different to that in Cessnock."
One aspect of the role the 46-year-old would like to take more action on is community engagement, however she admits it will be hard to do that while social distancing measures are still in place.
But, as the outbreak begins to wind down, the Acting Commander will look to make her presence known within the region and develop a further relationship with key stakeholders.