In a recent episode of Blue Line, The Podcast, editor Brittani Schroeder was joined by several members of the Canadian Police College (CPC) to speak about the CPC’s academics, how courses are created and what it’s like to be an instructor at the college.
Q: Can you tell me about the importance of the academics, and how they’ve evolved since the opening of the college 45 years ago?
Filomena Silva, Manager for Academic Standards and Learning Development: The mandate of the CPC is to provide advanced police training to law enforcement within Canada. Our team of instructional designers ensure that the college has a consistent level of quality in all the courses we deliver, and the instructional material that is delivered in a classroom—whether that is in person or virtually. We also work with instructors to ensure they have a clear understanding of the college’s standards and expectations.
We ensure through established partnerships that our courses are put together in such a way that they can be looked at from other academic institutions for advanced credits towards some of their undergrad or postgraduate degree programs. We also ensure that subject matter experts (SMEs) come not only from the RCMP, but also from the great law enforcement departments within Canada, and even internationally, to have the capacity to deliver training at the highest standards.
The need for training within law enforcement has not changed, and has probably even increased due to COVID-19. We recently started a regional delivery model, where we take courses on the road. For example, taking our Technical Crime Unit courses on the read, we did it with some challenges for sure, but it’s turning out to be a very positive initiative. And with the support of our partners, we’re seeing day-to-day more requests to take more courses on the road through this regional delivery model.
Throughout the years, CPC has been scrutinized on what we deliver, and how we deliver it, and how we ensure that we meet the training requirements of our clients—law enforcement—who serve the public. Because of that, the rigorous standards that we impose on the instructional designers, there’s a reason for it and there’s a need for it as well. That has pushed us to ensure that we are accountable for the training that we deliver and other training that’s going to be coming down the road. This also ensures that the training is transferable, that it is relevant, and that it is applicable to the reality of the work environment, our clients, and the general public.
Q: What is the benefit of working directly with the course instructors when designing the police training?
Robin Bruneel, Instructional Designer: I would say there are multiple benefits. But if I had to boil it down into one statement, I would say that it makes for what we would call effective collaboration. Although we often speak in terms of client-to-client relationship, I really like to think of it as a partnership, because both the instructor and the instructional designer share the same goal, which is to bring the best quality content into the training.
Boiling this down a little bit further, I would say there are two elements to it: first, the instructor brings their expertise. They’re the SMEs. They know how to teach, they know the ins and outs of their domain of expertise. Whether it’s forensic identification, cybercrime, major investigations, you name it. They bring their own perspective as well, and their valuable experience. The second element is that we’re obviously not just talking about one brain; the instructor comes with an expanded network of people within and outside the organization. This gives us access to an additional network to potentially start a focus group or just to learn from our peers. I would say that all together those factors contribute to bringing the best quality in the training.
Q: Dave Richard has been teaching for the CPC for many years. How much has it changed over the last 14 years?
Dave Richard, CPC Instructor: I’ve been teaching for the last 14 years here at the CPC, and things have changed a lot. I mean, the world of policing has changed. One of the biggest changes that I’ve seen are the expectations from the police agencies who are sending their people here for training. Modern policing can be very challenging, and a police service is only going to be as effective as its human resources. They want top notch training, and they want their people to leave the college with the best information possible. That is what we strive to deliver.
The academic part of it has really played a crucial role; something as simple as a course training standard is integral. I liken it to when I approach a complex crime scene—I don’t just run in and start processing the scene, I need to stop and plan, and that’s what your training does for you. It makes you stop, because you know the information that needs to get out to the people involved. But if I don’t have a plan, then there’s a chance that I’m things will go wrong. So, it’s an integral part of what we do.
Editor’s Note: This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity. To listen to the full episode, visit blueline.ca/podcasts.
This episode of Blue Line, The Podcast was sponsored by Wilfrid Laurier University.
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