Southie’s own BPD Sergeant Gino Provenzano is one of this year’s recipients of the prestigious Boston Shattuck Awards, bestowed by the Boston Municipal Research Bureau for outstanding leadership and dedication to the City of Boston.
But good luck getting Sergeant Provenzano to tell you why he was selected and what is so special about him and his job. Friendly and very humble, the BPD sergeant is a 4th generation South Boston resident – even if his surname doesn’t quite scream “Southie.”
“My great-grandparents immigrated to the North End and their son, my grandfather, could be a bit of a troublemaker, so they picked up the family and moved to South Boston to get away from whatever trouble he was getting into, which usually involved the Boston Police,” chuckled Provenzano. “Maybe that is why police work is in my DNA.”
Sergeant Provenzano sat for the BPD exam after he finished his undergraduate in political science at UMASS Boston. “I grew up across the street from Mayor Flynn; politics was the bloodline of South Boston – there was no avoiding it,” he joked.
After UMASS Provenzano received his master’s degree in criminal justice from Anna Maria College. His most memorable position was in District 4 in the South End, Fenway, Lower Roxbury and Back Bay as a community service officer. “I truly loved connecting with the residents and nurturing a healthy relationship of mutual respect and understanding,” he explained.
Now, 21 years later, Sgt. Provenzano works with the numerous community service officers assigned to districts throughout the city. “We strive everyday to nurture our relationships with the community and dispel the negative assumptions associated with police presence. One of our favorite activities is ‘Operation Hoodsie Cup’ where we bring the ice cream truck into communities and connect with the young people and their families to foster positive and mutually beneficial relationships with community leaders. And who doesn’t love ice cream??”
Married for 22 years to his wife Susan (Lonergan) and living in his family home on Marine Road, Provenzano acknowledges that a lot has changed in Southie in his lifetime. “With the inevitable change comes the good and the bad. What were once abandoned eyesore buildings are now beautiful homesteads – and yet with the increase in real estate values a lot of South Boston families cannot raise their families here – I get it, we are very fortunate to be able to stay where I grew up.”
Caught in Southie is proud to call Sergeant Provenzano ‘one of its own’ and wholeheartedly congratulates him and his colleagues, family and community partners on this prestigious recognition!