Since June, Mark Peterse has been donning a police uniform a few times a week and going out to help represent the Langley RCMP.
Peterse is one of the latest group of Auxiliary Constables trained as volunteers to help the local detachment's regular officers and civilian staff.
Auxiliaries aren't paid, they don't carry guns, but they do everything from community outreach to traffic control to helping at accident scenes.
It's a lot of work, following an intense six-month training regime. But Peterse has thrown himself into the program.
"I truly fell in love with this," Peterse said.
Much of their work is community-based patrolling and crime prevention.
"We're out there to observe, we're out there to be recognized," Peterse said.
Spotting an auxiliary member is easy if you know the signs: they don't have a service pistol on their belt, they don't have the yellow stripe on the side of their trousers, and up close, they have shoulder patches that identify them as auxiliaries.
But when they're out with regular officers, they're held to the same responsibilities to the community as full RCMP members.
Peterse has worked with kids at local schools, door knocked to talk about preventing auto crime, and directed traffic at a bad crash on Zero Avenue.
He's also found himself running through the bush on the Nicomekl flood plain with a dog handler, in search of the source of a reported gunshot. (It turned out to be an exploding propane cannister.)
"There's not one minute I've been bored," Peterse said.
Peterse and his group of 20 auxiliaries graduated from their training program last June. Now the Langley RCMP is getting ready to start training a new set.
Jean Galvin, a former RCMP officer turned civilian employee, heads up the recruitment and training of the auxiliary officers.
"The biggest thing is people who want to get involved in their community," Galvin said.
Being good with the public and willing to talk to people are key skills.
The auxiliary program also emphasizes to potential recruits that it's a big commitment.
A volunteer has to learn everything from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to police note-taking style, from good listening skills to marching in formation.
If they pass their six months of training, which will eat up a lot of their weekends, they're asked to stay with the program for at least two years. They have to volunteer for a minimum of 160 hours per year; most auxiliaries put in more time than that.
Peterse is putting in plenty of time. The owner of a Brookswood bakery and deli says he particularly loves working with kids at events like the annual Langley RCMP cadet camp.
He even recently danced as part of an exercise program at Douglas Park Community School.
"At 6'5", almost 300 pounds, that's a show in itself!" he said.
There are 47 auxiliaries in the detachment right now, ranging from youngsters still in college to senior citizens who are doing it during their retirement.
While many auxiliaries see the program as an end point, others get into it because they are considering a career in policing.
After their two years of volunteering, they may apply to join the RCMP or study at the Justice Institute and join a civic police force.
For Peterse, it has re-ignited a childhood dream of being an officer. He's seriously considering becoming an RCMP member once his volunteer committment is up.
"I found that it was more of a calling," Peterse said.
"It has excitement, it has compassion," he said.
The program has convinced him to pursue a dream he'd put aside for years to run a business and raise a family.
"That's a testament to Jean and the program," Peterse said.
He'll still be in the auxiliary uniform for a while yet.
"My goal is to leave this program better," he said.
The recruitment session for the program will take place on March 18 and 25 at the Langley Township Civic Facility, in the Fraser Presentation Theatre, a.k.a. the council chambers.
The sessions start at 6: 30 p.m. each night, and applicants can fill out their forms, after which there will be background and security checks.