BOYLE — The Boyle RCMP Detachment's new commander officer grew up just down the road.
Sgt. Dennis Properzi, who took over Dec. 12, grew up in Westlock before moving to Barrhead in Grade 8 and so coming to Boyle, via the Athabasca detachment, hasn’t taken him far from home.
“After I left Barrhead I realized I needed some upgrading and then went into college,” he said in a Jan. 10 interview. “I got a couple of years under my belt as a special constable up in High Level, Lac La Biche area and I kept applying (to the RCMP) and eventually I got in.”
It was a friend making his own move from being a special constable to working for the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) who recommended Properzi as his replacement, so he and wife Holly, a nurse, spend two years in High Level before going to Lac La Biche.
“I decided it was closer to home and if I’m still not in the RCMP I might have to give up eventually, but we ended up moving down there and I only worked for about eight months when the Mounties offered me a position at Depot.”
The RCMP Academy, Depot Division – commonly referred to simply as Depot – is in Regina, Saskatchewan, and has been the training academy for the RCMP since it was established in 1885.
“And then right out of the chute I went to St. Paul-Saddle Lake,” he said. “I think that was probably the busiest place I’ve ever been.”
He promoted to Bonnyville and then was given the opportunity to join the Westlock detachment and bring his wife and three children back home to his original stomping grounds on a more permanent basis.
“I was looking for a change of pace, to enjoy some family time and not be as busy, so we came out this way” said Properzi. "I went to Westlock about 2014 and then spent the better part of seven years there.”
He didn't run into many people he grew up with, he said, but he still knew some names.
"I don't do the social media stuff so, I don't know where anybody is or who's really doing what but I've run into a few people here and there. There's such a gap in time ... I'm dealing with their elderly parents or kids," he laughed.
From there he commuted to Spruce Grove running a roving traffic unit before coming to Athabasca as part of the traffic section in September of last year.
“Then after only a few months, a Boyle sergeant position came up and I thought, well I’m kind of already in the area, so I applied for that promotion, and they ended up awarding me the position,” he said.
Properzi took over from Cpl. Gavin Bergey who was holding down the detachment after Sgt. Colin Folk transferred to Vegreville in October 2022.
“Gavin was running the detachment interim so he’s still here and he’s loving it, not looking to leave anytime soon,” Properzi said, adding he appreciates Bergey’s experience and his strong leadership skills.
For now, everything will be status quo, working on projects, like off-highway vehicle safety in Wandering River during summer which had great feedback last year.
“I just want to start off by getting out in the community and letting people know who I am,” he said. "I'm pretty easygoing. If someone has a concern, it's informal; I don't mind taking a call here and speaking to somebody directly.”