- As seen in DurhamRegion.com opinion piece
Policing is changing — now more than ever, policing calls for a proactive, collegial, community-wide approach to community safety and well-being.
The Ontario Police Services Act changed on Jan. 1 of this year. It is now the responsibility of each municipality to create, implement, evaluate and maintain community safety and well-being plans. This is a very good thing; it recognizes that the responsibility for policing a community is shared by the whole community. Police services have a key role, but they are only one resource to create and maintain safe, orderly and healthy communities. But how do students break into this brave new world?
The new BA in Policing and Community Well-being at Trent University's Durham GTA campus meets this need. The only community-inclusive policing program of its kind in Canada, this innovative degree will give its graduates the skills, experience and knowledge that they need to be successful in human professions such as policing, social work, corrections and law.
I was honoured and excited to be part of the group that developed this degree. These amazing people included practitioners and academics from policing, social work, social psychology, First Nations, and fields like nursing and education. We came together to create a first-of-its-kind degree designed to give graduates what they need to be part of the complex web of human services professionals — who, working together, have the expertise needed to keep our society safe and healthy.
Police officers and their community partners need a broad range of knowledge, skills and experience to solve complex community problems. Modern police officers are problem-solvers at many levels, and part of a web of community servants who, working together, consider the social determinants of community health to prevent problems — and to help individuals with an array of challenges.
A university degree is an important tool to help police professionals to be effective members of the community well-being web. The BA in Policing and Community Well-being gives students who are interested in policing and in other human professions specific tools and experience to excel. The benefits of this program go far beyond the classroom; students will have the invaluable opportunity to put learning into action through hands-on placements in the third and fourth years, working with police services, hospitals, social service agencies and other community organizations.
I retired last year as a police superintendent with more than 35 years of experience. Knowing what I know now, if this program had been available when I first considered policing as a profession, I would have been banging at the door to get in. This program will give its graduates a deep understanding of the economic, social and cultural features that shape our communities, and threaten them. This is crucial to empowering community servants to come together to create and maintain a safer society.
The location of this degree itself is also a benefit — offered exclusively at Trent University Durham GTA, the Policing & Community Well-being BA gives students the best of best of both worlds: a close-knit community of scholars in a thriving urban environment, linked to Canada’s largest city.
I hope you want to learn more. Connect with Trent Durham or visit trentu.ca/durham/policing. Better yet, come to campus for March Break Open House on Saturday, March 9 and find out more in person. You can apply on the spot! Applications for September 2019 are still being accepted.
— Peter Lennox is a retired police superintendent.