TRURO - Once you get John Wayne Mont talking about stories from work, you won't get him stopped.
That's what it will be like tonight when friends and family gather at the Best Western Plus Glengarry for a retirement party for the former Truro Police Service sergeant and fellow retiree Cpl. Loran Morrison.
"I'd always wanted to be a police officer, from the time I was a little boy," said Mont, 65, who retired after 45 years with the Truro department.
"I started when I was 20 years of age. Now here's a funny story for you - I could go into the liquor store and arrest someone, but I couldn't go in on my own and purchase liquor because the age at that time was 21."
Arriving at what was then the Truro Police Department in 1966, Mont worked general duties, as a plain-clothes officer and on the drug enforcement squad before being promoted to sergeant in 1984.
Having started in the late 1960s, Mont said there are many changes between policing then and today. However, one of the biggest changes he's seen is the inclusion of all the different names and titles, such as neighbourhood policing and public relations officers.
"It's trying to get back to the basics," said Mont.
The retired officer said a man by the name of Sir Robert Peel was and is known for his theories, which began in the late 1800s.
"He once said, ‘the police are the public, and the public are the police.' Police officers in today's society have insulated themselves in brick and mortar, and metal and glass. They need to get out and talk to the people to win the people's confidence."
Mont said a study was done in Chicago when it came to crime and things were escalating.
"They needed more transportation because they were having quicker calls so they pulled hundreds of officers off foot patrol and put them in automobiles. What happened? After a year, they found crime increased and the solvability factor decreased."
He said it was because the department and its officers lost its communication with the public and that the information source is the department's lifeline. Once the department followed a recommendation from the study and put its officers back on foot patrol, Mont said the crime decreased and solvability increased.
"The officers won the people's trust. I've always said a police officer's best weapon is his or her tongue. If you're not a people person, you're in the wrong business."
Over his years with the Truro department, Mont can recall a number of cases he's worked on, but none he wanted to share specifically because of the nature of the case.
"But there is one story from when I first started. I was on patrol by myself. It was the late 60s and it's a story of lesson learned.
"There was a man in the downtown area acting up, so I went, arrested him and put him in the car," said Mont. "He started whining to me, saying he'd never had a break in his life and all he wanted to do was go home and sleep it off, and he promised he'd be good."
Mont, being young and possibly naïve, he said, took the man home.
"It was a big mistake. Less than 40 minutes later, we got a call that he was beating his sister. So my sergeant at the time, Sgt. Jack Washington, and I went and arrested him and threw him in jail. Instead of a drunk charge, he was facing assault. I felt so bad.
"But my sergeant, about 6'4", said to me, ‘Son, that's why there are erasers at the end of pencils. We all make mistakes.'"
With three daughters and five grandchildren, Mont is now enjoying his retired life and spends many days looking after his grandchildren.