Sault-born VIP to speak at local Career Fair WednesdaySunday, October 13, 2013 by: Darren Taylor
Sault College Justice Studies program instructors Jeff Barnes and Frank Caputo (pictured) are looking forward to the College's annual Justice Studies Career Day this coming Wednesday, October 16.
Though the Justice Studies Career Day is an annual event, the two instructors told SooToday.com this year's event will be the biggest their department has ever held, with more attendees than ever and a VIP keynote speaker.
Approximately 600 students, from all five local high schools, along with 150 students from the College's own Justice Studies program, will fill the new Student Health and Wellness Centre to listen to an address from OPP Commissioner (and Sault Ste. Marie native) Chris Lewis.
Lewis joined the OPP in 1978 and rose through the ranks to eventually become OPP Commissioner in August 2010.
"I've known Chris for over 30 years," said Barnes, a former OPP officer who finished off his own career as a Sergeant with the Sault OPP detachment before becoming a Sault College instructor.
"He is a very, very unique individual, a brilliant man, a great orator and a great leader."
Lewis' memory, Barnes said, is phenomenal.
Sault Ste. Marie Police Service Chief Bob Davies and Justice Studies program instructors will also give presentations.
Senior brass from City Police, OPP, RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Correctional Service of Canada and Canadian Forces will be there, with information booths and displays available for high school and Sault College students interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement.
The day's events will run from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Those in attendance will get a glimpse at the ever-changing world of law enforcement, as a robotics display (featuring a smart device that detects items such as bombs to protect officers in what are called "high risk entries"), forensics display and canine units from the City Police, OPP and CBSA will be on hand.
The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service BATT vehicle will also be there to add to the "wow factor."
Tours of the Sault College Justice Studies area, as well as the College in general, will be conducted.
There is some vitally important information to keep in mind if you're seriously interested in being a Mountie.
More than merely providing information at a booth, the RCMP will be recruiting on site Wednesday.
Barnes told SooToday.com "If someone chooses to actually apply to the RCMP, they have to register their intention to do so online before Wednesday October 16 at www.rcmpcareers.ca."
"It tells the RCMP recruiters beforehand there is somebody who's actually going to take the testing on Wednesday."
"If you choose to take the testing, you can do it on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at our Sault College multimedia centre, but you have to pre-register before Wednesday," Barnes emphasized.
It is a written test, and successful applicants will move on to the next steps in the RCMP's recruitment process, which include physical fitness testing.
The Sault College Justice Studies program is a two-year program, with two different areas of specialty.
Students complete a foundational first year, then choose to specialize in either Police Foundations or Protection, Security and Investigation in the second year.
The program has September and January intakes.
Caputo, a former CBSA officer, told us: "Our intake averages 70 to 85 students in September, and in January we get 10 to 15 more integrated into our program."
"At any given time, we have 125 to 150 students," Caputo said.
Students who graduate after two years in one of the two specialty areas may return for another school year and specialize in the other specialty area, meaning students may graduate with two diplomas after three years of study.
The instructors encourage students to look into furthering their education after leaving Sault College with one additional year of study at Lake Superior State University (LSSU).
Barnes said: "We have an articulation agreement, and we can get you into LSSU. They accept all our credits…we have a phenomenal articulation agreement with Lake State."
"If you spend two or three years with us, you can transfer directly to LSSU for one additional year, and you will get a 4 year degree (a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice) from them."
The LSSU program offers instruction in several different areas, including fire sciences, loss prevention and corrections.
The LSSU Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice is recognized in Canada.
Caputo told us: "We've sent 20 to 25 students every year to Lake State."
"Some go on to be lawyers with that postsecondary university education, whereas we provide the hands-on College component."
Both Caputo and Barnes urged students to think long-term and take the Sault College/LSSU route for two major reasons.
One of those reasons is cost.
It is increasingly and extremely costly for students (and their parents who support them) to leave Sault Ste. Marie for larger, Southern Ontario centres to obtain a similar educational combination of college diploma and university degree.
Here, the instructors said, both can be obtained at a fraction of the cost.
Not only that, but law enforcement agencies also tend to skip over younger grads who have opted to settle for a quick, two-year college diploma, both instructors told us.
Caputo said agencies tend to favour applicants who have three or four years of study under their belts, along with a few years of employment in another field and acquirement of life experiences.
The men said students would be wise to go into the program with patience.
Employment as a law enforcement officer may not come straight away, Caputo said, but added: "Within five years after graduating from Sault College, 80 percent or more of our graduates are working in the field," adding that several grads of the Sault College program are currently working with City Police or OPP.