EDMONTON - The mall parking lot is packed with Christmas shoppers, cars are backed up four deep at the entrance and the temperatures are all the way down to -30.
But none of the drivers are scowling. For there, directing traffic to the beat of some soulful Christmas tunes playing behind him, is Const. Ron Smithman, Edmonton's dancing cop.
"Inside me, when I'm directing traffic, there's a beat whether the music's playing or not, and I get doing some fancy moves," said Smithman as he kept the lines moving Saturday at Edmonton's Kingsway Mall.
He high-kicks, spins around, runs back and forth across the intersection and gestures energetically with his white-gloved hands as if he were swinging a tennis racket. Sweating despite the -30 temperature, he's the hardest-workin' man in traffic biz.
"I lose three to five pounds everytime I do this," he said.
"Sometimes I split my pants. I've rolled off this stage. This is one of the colder years I've been doing this but I'm keeping warm right now."
This has become a Christmas tradition for Smithson. But when he started in 2002, he wasn't nearly as balletic.
"The first time I showed up here on this stage I was just directing traffic," he said. "People were saying, 'Is that all he does?'
"So I reverted to my moonwalk from the '80s and other moves that I do. I just keep adding different moves every time."
Smithson said he even takes some inspiration from his daughter's dance classes and makes a game attempt at a ballet leap.
And all the while, cars drive past with a friendly honk and parcel-laden shoppers yell out "Merry Christmas!" That's what it's all about, he said.
"We get out here and we have a lot of fun."
Merry Christmas, Constable Smithman!