A new program at Assiniboine Community College will help remove barriers for aboriginal students seeking a career in law enforcement with help from the Brandon Police Service and the RCMP.
The nine-month integrated police studies program allows individuals without a Grade 12 education to complete their mature high school diploma while working toward a police studies certificate.
Graduates of the program will be eligible to apply to the RCMP to enter recruit training.
ACC has offered a police studies program for six years, but this is the first year it will focus on individuals of aboriginal descent, School of Health and Human Services dean Karen Hargreaves said.
She said the RCMP is hopeful the program will help them recruit more aboriginal individuals.
"We’re working with aboriginal candidates and we’re getting them prepared so they will be successful going into the RCMP," Hargreaves said. "They thought our program was a really good fit, so this is sort of the first step."
Typical barriers for aboriginal candidates entering the RCMP include the physical and academic testing portion, Hargreaves said.
Students will engage in problem-based learning, which focuses on group work, communication skills, critical thinking and problem solving.
Skills will be enhanced through scenario training, which includes investigating crime scenes, identifying and seizing evidence, conducting witness and suspect interviews, completing investigational and prosecutional reports, as well as preparing evidence for judicial processes.
They will also be subject to physical training, a ride-along program and community volunteer activities for youth and the Run For The Cure.
In March, students will spend a week in Regina at the RCMP Academy, "Depot" Division for training exercises. The program will also include elder teachings and pipe ceremonies.
Josh Murdock, who moved to Brandon from Fisher River Cree Nation to enrol in the program, said he’s looking forward to meeting the rest of his classmates and starting classes next month.
"I think it would just be good to get involved with the community and travel around Canada a bit and see what’s out there," Murdock said. "I’m excited ... it should be good."
Murdock said he hopes to become an RCMP officer upon completing the program.
Classes begin Feb. 3, but there are still seats available. Nineteen students have officially signed up so far, but there is room for 25.