He continues to serve with the Comox Valley RCMP even after four decades of commitment, and last week Const. Dave Mellin, an auxiliary member with the detachment, was honoured for his service.
“I’m the longest-serving auxiliary member at the Comox detachment, I’m now the longest current serving member in the whole of Canada as far as I know,” Mellin told media after the ceremony in Campbell River on Thursday, which also honoured other members for bravery, community commitment and longevity.
Forty years ago, Mellin joined the volunteer service after meeting various RCMP members when he worked at a grocery store across from where the local detachment used to be in Courtenay.
“I learned how the RCMP works and functions and it became very interesting throughout the years. I was able to help out and do something that was of value to the community,” he added.
“The things that the auxiliaries and reserve police officers across Canada bring to the community is continuity. Where people are getting in an out — in particular RCMP detachments — we know our way around town and who the bad guys are … and can assist regular members in their day-to-day duties.”
Mellin admitted he “would have loved to have joined the RCMP,” but due to marriage restrictions at the time and a reservation for leaving the Comox Valley, he remained part of their auxiliary force.
He said throughout his service, he has seen firsthand the various developments in policing, and enjoys how it continues to evolve.
“Policing has changed so drastically over the last 40 years. When I first started, the police car had one single light on it, you had a radio frequency that when you talked, people in Campbell River and Powell River were on the same frequency,” he explained. “We didn’t have computers, portable radios were like packing a car battery with a phone on the top with a big 10-foot antenna.”
Mellin said despite the many years with the detachment, he continues to feel challenged and motivated in the position.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have done a number of different things with the RCMP and because of the number of activity has kept up, the interest has kept up. The service clubs around town do an incredible job and I’ve been asked to join a number of them which I think is very nice, but I use the RCMP as my service club,” he noted.
Although Mellin, who turns 64 in December, can continue to serve the RCMP for another six years, he plans on only a few more years of service.
“A good friend of mine Don Ford just retired in Smithers with 44 years service. He had to retire because he turned 70 and it’s mandatory, so I could effectively go for another six years, but I think that could be pushing it and I told Don I wouldn’t break his record,” he added.
— With a file from CTV Vancouver Island