It’s the first program of its kind to be offered at Portage College, training Peace Officers.
Students have undergone nine weeks of intensive training that included: legal studies, control tactics, live pepper spray exposure, discipline of dress, deportment and drill, Law Enforcement Speed Measuring, emergency vehicle operations, mental health and cultural diversity.
Bradley Thibeault is one of those students.
“It doesn’t feel like a job to me, not one day has it ever felt just like a job,” Thibeault said.
Thibeault knows that it takes dedication to become a Peace Officer. He and seven other recruits are about to graduate as Level 1 Community Peace Officers.
In order to be accepted into the program, candidates must be employed with a municipality as a Community Peace Officer. Thibeault is a Level 2 CPO working for the MD of Greenview in north west Alberta. He and fellow candidate Kaitlyn Schneider acknowledge the physical and mental challenges but commend instructors for their vast knowledge and ability to create real-world training scenarios. Schneider is a recent hire in Camrose County, “I don’t have a criminal justice background and I wanted the opportunity to gain as many practical skills as I could to the best of my abilities.”
Candidates in the promgram are trained by two Law Enforcement Instructors, two Lac La Biche County Peace Officers and Chris Clark, Manager of Enforcement Services with Lac La Biche County.
“We succeed when our candidates succeed,” Clark said. “The training material is approved by Alberta Justice and Solicitor General, but we are able to adapt our teaching to meet the needs of the recruits themselves whether they’re policing in rural or urban areas. This includes community engagement and being proactive. This program is not just for anyone, students must be willing to endure a lot physically and mentally. As a team of instructors, we are proud of our recruits and the devotion they have demonstrated to training.”
Both Thibeault and Schneider are parents. For the required nine-week training in Lac La Biche, they may have put their family lives on hold but Thibeault says the big picture was always there, “I want to ensure a safer community for other families as well as my own.”