Story of a cop: “It just happened by chance, I stayed because of love”

the necessity
Pascal, known as “Mario”, was a policeman for thirty-four years, including thirty-three in Lot-et-Garonne. He is the oldest constable in the department on the job. Originally from the Alpes-Maritimes, when he met the one who would be his wife, in Astaffort, he decided to stay.

“Mario” was a young 55-year-old retiree, who was never set to make a career in the region, when he met Céline he made this decision. He told his story.

Tell us about your police career

I’m from the Maritime Alps, my father was with the Italian border police, my career in Lot-et-Garonne was completely unplanned, to begin with, I wanted to leave as soon as I could. Only, life decides otherwise. I did my training as gendarmes between May 88 and September 89 at the Montluçon school, then I was assigned by the Astaffort brigade to leave training. A few months after my arrival, I met Céline, she would be my wife and mother to my children. Since then, there has been no question of leaving again and I have made Lot-et-Garonne my new home. So I stayed at Astaffort for eight and a half years. Then I wanted to change, so I went to the Prayssas brigade where I lived for thirteen years. I have very good memories of it. In 2009 I was offered a place at the Operational Center of Agen Gendarmerie, I was assigned there in April 2010 and to this day.

What made you a cop?

In my family we have enforced the law for many generations. It is something passed down from father to son. It went back to my great -grandfather. He was a customs officer, my paternal grandfather was a chief warrant officer of the gendarmerie and my father was a policeman. So naturally I followed in their footsteps. However, I have two daughters aged 27 and 29, who have walked their own way, and I am happy too. But for me, it worked for me.

How do you get to the gendarmerie operational center?

It was in 2009 that I was offered this position, after applying for a position. In the same way, I first spent twenty -one years in the field with my fellow brigadiers. We have to deal with all kinds of crime or accidents. The operations center allowed me to discover a new job that I hadn’t intended to do in the first place.

Do you have more of it?

I am easy to contact and I love being in the middle of the population and seeing people. That’s what I missed in the beginning when I started in the operations center. Especially when I’m in Prayssas, I can chat with people for an hour, but the time is never wasted. The brigade is my life, I chose to do this job when I left school, unlike some of my colleagues who went to the mobile gendarmerie to enforce the law. In the first three weeks I would sometimes think about what I was doing there, but I immediately understood the importance of my new position, where I remained for twelve years. My schedules were definitely not typical, but I had a peace of mind, which was not the case with my fellow brigadiers.

When you’re in the operations center, what are your tasks?

If someone dials 17, we accept your calls. Anyone who dials this number in the middle of downtown Agen, or for example in Villeneuve-sur-Lot, will find the police station. However, in the rest of the department, and especially in the villages and countryside, you will find yourself with the gendarmerie at the end of the line. We receive an estimated 90,000 calls per year. Which is no small feat. Calls vary greatly, they can range from a lost or stranded cat, to a traffic accident, to an armed robbery or an assault. So I was in charge of handling the calls and sending the brigades to interventions. My background as a brigadier has been very beneficial to me because I know the terrain and its difficulties. After all, it remains a shadow job, which we are always asked to do. Most of all because we don’t know what’s going to happen. It is possible for something serious to happen at any hour. And we are here to intervene.

If you had to name a moment that especially marked you, what would it be?

I have to tackle my career with all sorts of activities. From the simple theft of a flower in the cemetery, to the double murder, what scared me the most was undoubtedly the latter. However, one anecdote that particularly intrigued me was that when I was still in Prayssas, more than 15 years ago, an old woman wanted to file a complaint because her neighbor had put up a beehive. at the edge of his garden. He was stung by a bee, and really wanted to file a complaint. After explaining to him that it didn’t matter, I still had to accept the complaint because he didn’t want to let go of the thing. I need to know about the regulations for installing hives. However, I did not know the culprit!

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