JIBC law enforcement degree helps aspiring police officers stand out

2016_lacite_students1-edited2b_rc-650x300Charles Payette, Sabastien Therrien, and Sabastien Houle are among graduates from Ontario’s largest French-language college completing their Bachelor’s degree at JIBC (Photo & story by Richard Chu)


Charles Payette decided to move across the country to complete JIBC’s Bachelor of Law Enforcement Studies (BLES) program. He wasn’t the only one.

Last fall, four graduates from Ontario’s largest French-language college, La Cité collégiale, moved to New Westminster from their hometowns in Quebec to continue their education at JIBC. They first heard about the BLES program from their Dean at La Cité when JIBC and La Cité signed a Memorandum of Understanding to expand educational opportunities for students. As graduates of La Cité’s applied Police Foundations Diploma (Techniques des Services Policiers), each student was interested in continuing their education with a unique program that would help them stand out in the highly competitive law enforcement recruitment process.

“A lot of students go into criminology,” said Charles. “But this is different. Rather than look like all the other police applicants, I can say I have a degree from the Justice Institute of British Columbia in law enforcement studies. It’s not something a lot of other applicants will have.”

Charles and three other La Cité graduates researched various programs before deciding to apply for the BLES program. For students in Ontario looking for a relevant degree, Charles said there were relatively few options. He noted that university and college programs that incorporated policing or law enforcement, were not as applied or as broadly relevant as JIBC’s BLES, which is the first degree program of its kind in Western Canada.


BLES students deepen their applied knowledge

The program was developed to provide the latest techniques and necessary skills to deal with the growing sophistication of crime and the increasing complexity of policing.

For 21-year old La Cité graduate Sebastien Houle, courses like Restorative Justice have instilled the importance of deepening his understanding of people instigating crime and violence.

“It’s interesting to try to understand people and why they do what they do,” he said. “What were they thinking when they did something? Because you never know the background of the people in front of you.”

For Sebastien Therrien, 26, the Criminal and Deviant Behaviour course was “an eye-opener. We touched on a lot of different theories about why people act a certain way. Those will stick with me, and help me have more empathy for people I will be dealing with as a police officer.”

The BLES program also includes courses that give students an applied education in various leadership, management and business skills.

“It’s not just about criminal behaviour or policing. We are exposed to different topics that provide a better understanding of what is happening around us, which I can apply in every job that I have,” said Charles. “The one I think I would apply most is Organizational Behaviour. It provided me with a better understanding of what I need to prepare for the hiring process, and also helped me understand what kind of leader I am.”


Students benefit from responsive staff and passionate, experienced instructors

A consistent benefit within the program is the energy and enthusiasm of the instructors in the program.

“Our instructors are experts in their field. But they are not just retired police officers; they are scholars with master’s degrees and PhDs,” said Charles. “And teaching is their passion. Honestly, that makes a huge difference.”

For all the students from La Cité, their first year at JIBC has flown by. While they made a significant transition to come to B.C. to continue their post-secondary education, they have valued their whole experience so far.

For Sebastien Houle, coming to B.C. has led to significant personal growth and development, which has come from the strong support of fellow students, faculty and staff in the BLES program.

“When people have confidence about you, that helps you accomplish what you want,” he said.

Before arriving in BC, he had shared his concerns with BLES Program Manager Shaun Machesney.

“She didn’t know who I was, but we talked over email and she was saying, ‘Don’t be too stressed. We are there to help you. You will be okay. If you have questions, we are here.’ That helped me a lot.”

Apply today for JIBC’s Bachelor of Law Enforcement Studies, which can be completed at JIBC’s New Westminster Campus, and at Camosun College’s Lansdowne Campus in Victoria

Applications are currently being accepted for upcoming cohorts of the program. For more information and to apply, please visit the BLES webpage.

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