Mayo's new RCMP commander is no stranger to the community.

For the first time in more than 10 years, Cpl. Robert Drapeau came back home to work in the village of about 200 people — where he grew up.

"A lot of the people I went to school with are still here," said Drapeau, who's been enforcing the law in his hometown for the past six months. He has relatives, and his own mother in town as well.

Sometimes, Drapeau says he'll even get an odd request from fellow Mayo residents.

"They know us by our first name, and we know them by their first name." - Cpl. Robert Drapeau

"A lot of times, they still see me in the dental field. So if we're dealing with a client, they often ask me to look at their teeth," said Drapeau, laughing.

He used to work as a dental therapist in town.

It'll be a challenge enforcing the law in his hometown, said Drapeau. But he says community members have treated him with respect since he's arrived.

Working with youth and First Nations

After joining the RCMP in 2006, Drapeau worked in Alberta and only recently made a comeback to the Yukon to work in Faro in 2014.

"He's one of those people that's got one of those laughs — when he laughs, you laugh," said Drapeau's supervisor, Acting Staff Sgt.Calista MacLeod.

"When he's passionate about something, you can definitely tell. He's got that inner spark." 

MacLeod said she was a part of Drapeau's recruitment process to the RCMP in 2006. 

"The big thing that stands out for him, it's his down to earth, community mindedness. He was like that when he was applying ... and he's still like that now." 

Cpl. Robert Drapeau

Cpl. Robert Drapeau in Faro, Yukon. Drapeau helped lead the Top Cop reading program among young students in the community. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Drapeau, a member of the Selkirk First Nation, says his goal is to create partnerships between the police and the local First Nation — Na-Cho Nyak Dun — to do shared programming and cultural activities.

Drapeau wants to work and engage with youth. He volunteers with minor hockey and youth curling.

He's aiming to implement a Top Cop reading program starting in February for students in grades 1 to 4. He's run the program successfully in Faro before.

"We'd like to work with them in order to burn off some of that excess energy," said Drapeau.

"We like it when we're in the community and they know us by our first name, and we know them by their first name."

Drapeau is replacing Cpl. Karen Olito who retired in 2017. 

With files from Leonard Linklater