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Sebastien Therrien’s pursuit of a career in policing led him to JIBC. Thanks to his JIBC degree, he’s now enrolled in graduate studies to further his education. (Story by Wanda Chow / Photo by Jimmy Jeong)

 

Sebastien Therrien’s pursuit of a career in policing led him to the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) and now his JIBC degree is helping him expand his career opportunities as he pursues a graduate degree.

Growing up in Quebec, Sebastien, now 27, always wanted to be a police officer, a career where he could make a difference while working directly with the public.

That determination was strengthened after he graduated high school and joined the Canadian Forces Army Reserves, while completing a diploma in Police Foundations at La Cité Collégiale in Ottawa. It was at La Cité where he learned of a new agreement between that school and JIBC, where he could apply his education towards completion of JIBC’s Bachelor of Law Enforcement Studies (BLES) degree.

Sebastien says his JIBC education helped open his mind on many subjects, particularly the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada, how they were treated and how that continues to impact that community today.

“In high school I cannot remember learning about that and it’s so important to learn about it. That’s what struck me, like wow, I’m 25, 26 years old and I’m just learning about this?”

The course on restorative justice also stood out for him. He learned about the process, which involves the victim of a crime meeting with the person who committed the offence and together seeking a way to provide restitution without jail time or the other conventional remedies available in the justice system.

In addition, Sebastien gained a new appreciation for research while at JIBC, not only its ability to make a difference in society but the value of the research skills he learned as he continues his education at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), where he is now pursuing a master’s in criminal justice. 

“I think doing research can have a big influence on the decisions people make,” he said. “After my first few days at UFV I already know I have skills that I learned at JIBC that I’m going to use. Their research methods are very, very similar. I think that’ll help me a lot.”

To date, several BLES graduates have continued their education towards completing master’s degree and law degree programs, in addition to becoming hired by various law enforcement agencies. Sebastien’s decision to continue on with his studies is rooted in his future goal of becoming a police officer.

“I don’t want later in my career to think I should have done the master’s because I’m being stopped from getting a promotion. Or I’m competing against someone and I’m not getting an opportunity to advance my career because I didn’t have that degree.”

Sebastien said his move to the West Coast to attend JIBC, quitting his job and leaving his friends and family behind, was a good opportunity to get out of his comfort zone.

“It’s been a turning point of my life. I made very good connections and on top of that, good friends. If I had to do it again, I would definitely take the same decision to come out here and do it.”

 


The Bachelor of Law Enforcement Studies (BLES) is available in Victoria, B.C. at Camosun College Landsdowne campus and at JIBC’s New Westminster campus. Diploma graduates in criminology, criminal justice and other related programs can gain transfer credit to begin third-year courses in the BLES program. For more information on the Bachelor of Law Enforcement Studies program, visit jibc.ca/bles.

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