Journey of education and experience
Top Law Enforcement Studies Diploma grad working in surveillance
When Scott Sutherland learned about JIBC’s Law Enforcement Studies Diploma (LESD), he knew it was the right program for him.
The two-year program provides students with the theoretical background, applied skills and specialized knowledge to become superior candidates in a recruiting process for a range of investigation and law enforcement occupations.
It was the kind of program he was looking for, and just one month after graduating from the LESD program, Scott landed his first job in law enforcement as a surveillance operator with a casino.
Scott was drawn to JIBC and the LESD program because the Institute trains municipal police recruits, offers a tight-knit environment and maintains smaller class sizes. “I never felt like a small fish in a large pond,” says Scott. “The smaller classes were ideal to learn in, connect with instructors and get the support students need to become successful.”
Faculty in the LESD program include current and retired police officers and other instructors with a law enforcement background. “The faculty in the LESD program were extremely enthusiastic and devoted to every topic they were teaching. They lived what they taught. Everything they taught, they had real life experience in. Instead of just teaching out of a textbook, instructors brought in their experiences through stories, photos and videos.”
Students in the program spend the program’s two years as a cohort, so the students become very familiar with each other. “Our group was very cohesive. Everyone got along and even now after graduation, I see about a quarter of my fellow graduates pretty regularly. Although it wasn’t what I came here to do, I made life long friends. Learning as a cohort was such a huge benefit because you study with a diverse group of people. Everyone had input that was of value and respected each other.”
Scott also appreciated receiving support from JIBC’s Student Services. Whether it was through the JIBC Library, Financial Aid & Awards office, or the Police Academy faculty, the supportive atmosphere throughout the institution helped Scott succeed in the program. “I was fortunate to receive some bursaries while I was in the program, which was a huge weight off my shoulders. It enabled me to reduce my work hours and focus on my studies. The Library was also a huge asset because it has the material you need to do your work. The librarians were so helpful and willing to answer any questions, and would walk us through anything we needed help with.”
He graduated from the program in May 2011, and received the Ingrid Pipke Memorial Award at Convocation. Scott received the award for maintaining the highest academic standing in his LESD cohort.
In his job as a surveillance operator in a casino, Scott uses skills he learned at JIBC, such as how to communicate effectively, resolve ethical dilemmas, interact with the RCMP and municipal police, and work in computer investigations. “My job is really interesting. We monitor casino assets and overlook patron and employee behaviour to ensure that everyone is adhering to casino policies and the BC Lottery Commission’s standards. In order to do this, we use facial recognition software, license plate recognition and many, many high end cameras.”
Surveillance & security was an area Scott hadn’t thought about before taking the LESD program. “It’s a great fit for me. You have to learn how to multi-task because you have multiple monitors, phones, and radios, plus computers with alarms going off. The communication tactics, report writing skills and investigative techniques I learned at JIBC definitely help. I recently picked out a stolen car because I just knew things didn’t look quite right, and I’ve enjoyed working with the RCMP on fraud and theft investigations. I look forward to joining a police department in the future.”
The 25-year-old says taking the LESD program ultimately gave him a clear view of what to expect in a law enforcement career. “You learn about the law, responsibilities of different law enforcement personnel, how to handle different situations around conflict resolution and complex situations, and even how to handle ethical dilemmas.
“After completing this two-year journey of education and experience, I feel grounded with the tools, skills and knowledge I need in promoting a promising future for myself, in whatever direction life takes me.”
Cohorts 6, 7 and 8 of the LESD program began in September and are full. JIBC is now accepting applications for Cohort 9 of the program, beginning in January 2012. For information, see the Law Enforcement Studies Diploma page.
Last updated October 24, 2011