On Tuesday, 19 March 1872 James Busit joined the Perth City Police Force at the age of 21. He rose quickly up the ranks beginning on Thursday, 13 March 1873 he was promoted to 2nd Class Constable. According to his police personnel files, James Buist was described as being 5 feet, 9 ½ inches tall; brown hair; eyes grey and had a fresh complexion. He was promoted on Thursday, 1 January 1874 to 1st Class Constable and by Thursday, 9 March 1876 was again promoted to Detective. Four years later on Thursday, 19 August 1880 James Buist was promoted to Sergeant.