The mounties have horses. Thierry Hinse-Fillion has a skateboard.

The 32-year-old Longueuil police officer is using his skills on a deck to help bridge the oft-tense gap between police and the skateboarding community. It’s something Hinse-Fillion knows all about.

As a teenaged skater, he and his friends often had run-ins with the cops over skateboarding in parking lots or on church steps.

“They didn’t have a good perception of us,” he said. “We had a bad perception of them.”

Things didn’t get easier. Doing badly in school, he dropped out at 15. He returned to finish high school and CEGEP years later at the urging of his wife. He had confided to her he had always dreamed of being a police officer himself.

“Always, that’s what I wanted to do,” he said. “Why? I don’t know, but it’s the job I always wanted.”

Now that he is an officer, he’s using his experience to talk to parents, reassuring them that skate parks are safe.

“I find it’s a good influence on the youth to have someone, the police or any authority, to say that they’re not here just for the bad moments, but they’re here for fun and good times as well,” said parent Dominique Naud.

It’s not all fun and games. Hinse-Fillion also talks to kids about his experiences as a drop out.

Still, he’s called on to prove himself on a board. It can be quite a shock for kids to see a fully uniformed police officer grinding and popping ollies. But once he rides, the uniform and patrol car cease to matter.

“When I saw him skating, I was like ‘Oh, he’s cool. He’s a good cop,’” said skateboards Phoenix Price.