Walking the volunteer police beat since ’72 www.privateofficer.com
It was 1972, and Mellin’s entry into the small police unit would mark the beginning of a 40-year adventure in volunteer community policing.
He is set to be honoured with a long service award this summer for the tens of thousands of hours he has spent working as an auxiliary constable.
And he will celebrate another hallmark next year, when the auxiliary program he has spent his life working in turns 50 years old.
Mellin, also the Honorary Colonel of 407 Squadron, started when the entire Comox Valley RCMP force totaled about 15. There are now over 40. Mellin was one of eight auxiliary members.
“In those days the police cars were black, and there was a single light on the top, and that was it for emergency equipment,” Mellin said. “The old sirens, when you got to an accident, they were still winding down for the first three or four minutes that you got there.”
Mellin says the job of being an auxiliary constable remains fundamentally the same as it was 40 years ago, although he added: “The ‘bad guys’ I think respected the police a little bit more in those days; nowadays, they don’t care about anything, they just do whatever they feel like doing.”
Mellin never pursued a full-time career with the RCMP, initially because of a requirement that officers be unmarried (later dropped), and then later because he had established deep roots in the community and didn’t want to be transferred.
But he said working in the force as a volunteer has been an interesting experience.
“As it is in any police force, there’s lots of stuff that’s really interesting to see and there’s lots of stuff you wish you didn’t have to see,” he said. “It really broadens your outlook on life in a lot of ways, because you see all aspects of life.
“I mean, most people get up in the morning, go to work – and then 9, 10 o’clock, go to bed,” he said. But for police, “From 10 o’clock at night until seven the next morning, they’re in their own little world in those wee hours of the morning.”
An insurance broker by day, Mellin would walk the beat in his spare time. On one seemingly quiet evening, he and his colleagues were called to a multiple fatality car accident, a fire at Comox Legion, and several other mishaps.
“We were just run ragged,” he said. “And in those days, you didn’t have the amount of bodies you have today. What I thought was going to be a routine night turned out to be a very interesting night.”
Then there are more recent events, including this year’s hurricane-level storm and the emergency landing of a Korean passenger jet at YQQ due to a bomb threat.
The RCMP considers Mellin to be a court expert witness in the field of aerial detection of marijuana grow-ops, as well as a skilled aerial photographer and videographer. He is credited with helping to detect and dismantle millions of dollars worth of drug operations, as well as with locating missing persons, suspects and evidence.
“As a long and accomplished volunteer in support of policing, Mr. Mellin has advocated for public safety, working tirelessly on behalf of the citizens of the Comox Valley, said Const. Nicole Hall, Comox Valley RCMP Auxiliary program coordinator. “Our community is definitely a safer and better place to live thanks to his efforts.”
For Mellin, although he is kept busy by other volunteer efforts, he still finds time where he can for the RCMP.
“It’s a very rewarding program, and needless to say, I’ve found it enjoyable, because I’ve stuck with it.”
Source:Comox Valley Echo