Robbery set LESD grad on path to policing

2016_09sept6_mateen_rc-1-650x300Being a victim of crime helped by police inspired Mateen Aminie to go into policing himself. He credits JIBC’s Law Enforcement Studies Diploma program for helping him get hired recently by a local police department. (Story by Wanda Chow / Photo by Richard Chu)


Const. Mateen Aminie was just 14 when an act of violence set him on a career path to help others.

By then, the teen had already had more upheaval in his life than many encounter in a lifetime. His family had fled their native Afghanistan when he was a baby, relocating to Pakistan before eventually emigrating to Canada years later when he was 13.

It was good timing for him, he said, since by that age, he was firmly ensconced in his native culture, able to speak fluent Farsi and Dari, and could adapt to a new language and culture in his new life in Canada.

Things were going well in his first year in Canada until he was attacked while heading home from a job at a fast-food outlet in Surrey. A group of thugs knocked him unconscious, hitting him in the head with a bat and kicking him in the face, before robbing him. A passing cab driver witnessed the incident and called Surrey RCMP.

When police arrived, they offered him the help of victim services, and generally they showed they cared. This was very different from his experience in Pakistan where most people don’t like or trust police.

“Before I came to Canada I knew police were different here, but I didn’t know how different,” said Mateen, now 20. “They caught the guys who did it within an hour. That was really cool. That kind of thing doesn’t happen over there in Pakistan.”

And after seeing this different side of policing, it wasn’t long before he decided it would be the perfect way to meet his career goals – to help people in the community and be a good role model to others.

But without any personal mentors to guide him, he didn’t really know where to start. He is grateful that he discovered the Justice Institute of British Columbia’s (JIBC) Law Enforcement Studies Diploma (LESD) program. Not only did he learn how the Canadian criminal justice system works, but being taught by experienced current or former police officers helped him know what to expect in the job application process and once hired, out in the field. As an added bonus, he even received two awards that helped fund his education, the JIBC General Student Bursary and the Gary & Nanci Segal Award

“It wasn’t until I got in the program that I was like, this is the perfect fit for me.”

Mateen says he was “super shy” and didn’t have any background in law enforcement. The LESD program filled in all the gaps with hands-on training, presentations to help boost confidence and public speaking skills, mock job interviews, and even the chance to speak with recruiters to find out what they were looking for in a candidate. The relatively small classes were also regularly run through the paces of the Peace Officers Physical Abilities Test (POPAT), something that helped Mateen improve his time significantly. 

“Without LESD I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be here as a police officer right now,” he said.

All the time he was enrolled in the two-year program, Mateen was also busy gaining experience towards his policing goal. He worked as a bylaw enforcement officer in Richmond and volunteered as a high school soccer coach and as a mentor for people with physical disabilities. He also did volunteer work with the Richmond RCMP community policing program and the Surrey Crime Prevention Society, with the latter eventually hiring him as a staff member.

Then, last April, with about a month left before graduating with his LESD, Mateen got a phone call while at work in Richmond. A local police department was offering him a job as a police officer.

“I screamed, and there were a few people around me who asked if I was OK,” he recalled with a laugh. “I felt relief in a way that my waiting game was over, felt accomplished and thought to myself that all that hard work paid off.”

Three weeks after graduation, Mateen was back at JIBC, this time as a recruit training at its Police Academy. He’s now living his dream of giving back to the community, and drawing on his own experience.

“As a victim, it was really tough for me. Now, as a police officer, I can relate to those who get robbed or mugged. I can relate better, I can better help them. I think that’s my motivation.”


For more information about the Law Enforcement Studies Diploma and to apply for either the January or September cohorts of the program, visit the LESD program webpage.

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