By Kuhl, Nick on February 13, 2018.
A new police cadet training certificate program is officially underway through a partnership with local law enforcement agencies and Lethbridge College.
The program, which is one of a kind in Canada, is a partnership between Lethbridge Police Service, Blood Tribe Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, Taber Police Service, and the Canadian Pacific Police Service.
This year, eight MHPS cadets and three BTPS cadets will be part of the 20-week program. When complete, both MHPS and LPS will recruit from the cadets to fill vacancies in their organizations. At the same time, the cadets will receive academic credits toward the Criminal Justice Program at Lethbridge College.
Lethbridge Police Chief Rob Davis told the Lethbridge Police Commission recently the program is intended to provide a means for police training to be accounted for in academic pursuits.
“One of the frustrating things about police training is that the training does not equate well to the accreditation system used by post-secondary institutions,” he said.
“When you try to continue your education to use your police training in a post-secondary institution environment, so you can work towards a bachelor’s or master’s (degree), it’s rarely recognized. Very few courses in the police environment are recognized by the academic institutions.”
An important addition to the program is the opportunity for First Nations cadets to train locally with a municipal force. Prior to this, FN cadet training took place at RCMP Depot in Regina.
“Although the RCMP program is a very good program, it did not offer the BTPS cadets with training specific to the region as the training was from a national perspective,” said BTPS Chief Kyle Melting Tallow via email. “Having training specific to Alberta and our region allows for reduced on-boarding times during the recruit field training period.”
The program includes training specific to the culture and traditions of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot people). Southern Alberta is the traditional territory of the Niitsitapi (Kainai, Siksika, Piikani and the Amskapi Piikani), so it is expected that having this knowledge up front will enhance relationships between police and local FN communities.
“When we talk Truth and Reconciliation, I’ve been adamant to this commission and within our organization that it cannot be just a check-the-box exercise, or show a Power Point and say we’ve completed it,” said Davis. “I firmly believe that Truth and Reconciliation begins in genuine partnerships at a grassroots level.”
Another goal was to revamp the cadet training program so it is based on competencies and authentic assessment – showing the cadets can do something versus writing about it on a paper exam.
“The Lethbridge College has been an important partner in this as they have crafted this program to meet the needs of all southern Alberta police services,” Melting Tallow stated. “I look forward to this model becoming the Alberta standard for police training; however, there is some work to do here.
“Having these cadets receive academic credit provides opportunities for them in other areas. It is hoped that they build on this education with other classes or programs offered by the Lethbridge College. “
“We’re quite proud of the product,” Davis said, noting officers involved put in many hours of work to make it happen.
“All that work has paid off.”
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