Cpl. Dave Reid is a man of many varying interests. As the new media relations officer for the Burnaby RCMP, Reid is the first point of contact for many reporters.
"I used to be a CBC film editor for shows like The Nature of Things," said the affable Reid. "I didn't become a police officer until 1975, when I joined the Peel (regional police) in Ontario."
Reid's diverse past also included stints at the Banff School of Fine Arts, working alongside David Suzuki and even a stint at Universal Studios.
It was while working with Suzuki on a film about occupational safety and a Toronto cop being killed on the job that Reid got interested in becoming a police officer. "I'd just gotten married, and my wife's also an artist and my dad had served in the military as a Spitfire pilot," said Reid. "I'd thought about giving back, and that's when I looked into becoming a police officer."
Reid couldn't join the RCMP at the time because of a ban on married officers but got on quickly with Peel, where his artistic skills came in handy.
"I was asked to help with composite drawings, and that's where I got to use my artistic skills," said Reid.
He would work for 10 years in Ontario before he and wife Virginia decided to do something completely different.
"We operated a small business with boats in the Virgin Islands for a year," said Reid. "I'd done so many different things as a police (officer), everything from traffic to the SWAT team, and I just wanted something different."
After a year in the sun, the couple was coming home via Vancouver and just fell in love with the place.
"A buddy said I should look at joining the RCMP," said Reid. "They were looking for some senior guys, and it was something that I knew I could do."
His prior experience didn't exempt him from going to RCMP Depot in Regina in the early '90s. And Reid wasn't looking for any favours either.
"I'm an old-school cop," said Reid. "I just figured this was the job, these were the things we had to learn and I had to just go and do it."
That meant Reid, in his early-40s, was sharing a dorm with a whole raft of 20-somethings.
"I'd go to bed early and usually on weekends, they'd all be coming in late and when they came by my bed, they'd tiptoe and try to be quiet," he said.
The young 'uns also showed Reid nothing but respect. "They called me Obi Wan," said Reid. "I was definitely the dad of the group. . I did finish at the top of my class in all the physical stuff."
Reid was also proud of being seen as a sounding board for his instructors.
"I was older than some of them, and they would just ask me, 'Sarge, are we doing this right?'" said Reid.
After graduating from Depot, Reid's first RCMP posting was in Burnaby, where he served from 1992 to 1998.
"I was one of the people involved with community policing from the start," said Reid. "My area was Metrotown, and that's where I worked with a lot of juvenile offenders, prostitutes, gang members and drug addicts. . I think I got a lot of respect because I wasn't a young cop. I think we made a huge difference in that part of the city."
By 1997, Reid and his wife had decided to make Squamish their home and he has made the commute to the Lower Mainland ever since.
In 1998, Reid was promoted to E Division headquarters, where he worked for almost eight years in the witness protection and confidential informant program.
"(It's) a real minefield where any mistake could cost a life," said Reid. "You're dealing with informants, how much you can give them and what they can give you back in return. . And then the next moment, you're dealing with somebody where any disclosure could compromise their identity. It wasn't an easy posting and one where you couldn't afford even the smallest mistake."
Reid then spent time with the office of public complaints and providing support during the 2010 Winter Olympics before he was posted to his home detachment in Squamish for a short medical stint.
When the opportunity to come back to Burnaby came up, Reid jumped at the chance.
"I do believe the public has the right to know what the police are doing," he said. "That's part of what my job is. . Now, what the public wants to know and what I'm allowed to release are two different things.
"What I can say is I'll give as much information as I'm allowed to and I'll be responsive," said Reid.
Outside the office, Reid enjoys running with his Russian wolfhounds Zander and Shadow, dabbling in art, collecting samurai swords and building custom black powder Kentucky long rifles.
"An interesting mix," he said. "It keeps me busy."