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New BC Sheriff staff sergeant for Williams Lake

Originally from Austria, Andy Abenthung was a professional chef for 25 years
Originally from Austria, Andy Abenthung moved to Canada in 1989. He was named staff sergeant of the BC Sheriff Services in Williams Lake on March 30 of this year. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

The Ministry of Justice BC Sheriff Services has a former executive chef as the new staff sergeant in Williams Lake.

On March 30, Andy Abenthung replaced former Staff Sgt. Dave Olson who retired.

Originally from Austria, Abenthung was a professional chef for 25 years.

He moved to Canada in 1989, worked as an executive chef on cruise ships, in restaurants and in the largest hotel in Bermuda for one year.

Prior to that he was in the Austrian Special Forces and with that military background always dreamed of one day getting into working with the police or a law enforcement agency.

“After I met my wife Janet in Canada, I didn’t go back to Austria and it never occurred to me that I could do that here until I was encouraged to pursue working for a law enforcement agency. That’s when I applied to the sheriffs department.”

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It would take about a year to gather all the necessary documents to apply, but when he did he was accepted.

He did the training from Jan. 28 to May 22, 2015, graduated and landed his first job in Williams Lake on June 1, 2015.

Janet stayed behind the first year in Maple Ridge while Abenthung tried out his new career and Williams Lake.

“After the first summer and winter I actually fell in love with Williams Lake and exactly a year later Janet moved up here as well.”

As a sheriff he loves the interaction with people and the challenges of the job.

He particularly likes the fact that in Williams Lake there is a close relationship between the sheriffs, the RCMP and the BC Conservation Officer Services. He also loves the entire lifestyle of the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

“It’s completely different. People are so friendly. I cannot go anywhere without running into somebody I know. It’s just great.”

Being a sheriff in a smaller office in an area such as Williams Lake’s is also rewarding, he noted.

“Williams Lake has quite a reputation, obviously, so being here and being in this position is rewarding and challenging at the same time.”

There are presently three sheriffs, plus himself in the local office and a deputy sheriff is slated to begin later this summer.

He and his colleagues are responsible for escorting prisoners from different locations. There are circuit courts held every few weeks in 100 Mile House and four times a year in Anahim Lake.

Lots of driving and travelling is involved as they also provide document service where they deliver warrants or court papers that have to be served personally.

“We are also responsible for courthouse security,” he said.

With COVID-19 precautions in place, nothing is normal, but they are doing the best they can to keep things going, he added.

“Court appearances are by phone or video, but most things are on hold.”

All of his family lives in Austria and originally he’d hoped to travel home in September to celebrate his mother’s 80th birthday, but because of the pandemic and the way things are going he does not think he will have that opportunity.

Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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