Alex Allen was a teenager when she decided she wanted to work in law enforcement and set about making it happen.
She worked in an administrative role in B.C.’s provincial court system which included dealing with files for people found not criminally responsible for their crimes. This experience gave her a working knowledge of the criminal justice system.
When she decided to get a formal education in her chosen field, she chose the Law Enforcement Studies Diploma (LESD) program at the Justice Institute of British Columbia.
“It was a unique program that offered hands-on learning specifically designed for individuals hoping to pursue a career in law enforcement,” Alex explained. “It was one of the only programs that featured this type of learning. And it’s specifically taught by individuals who are active or retired members in different fields within law enforcement.”
My JIBC training allowed me to gain confidence in my communication, conflict resolution, research and investigation skills
Alex said she really enjoyed the LESD program’s cohort model where she learned alongside the same group of people throughout the two-year duration. She said her classmates shared similar interests and values as most were interested in pursuing careers in law enforcement.
“The most useful part of the LESD program was the diversity of courses provided. I was able to gain solid knowledge on Indigenous justice, the criminal justice system, psychology, computer investigations, major issues in law enforcement, and more” she said.
“The most memorable part of the whole program would have to be the driving day provided through the applied law course. This was a day where my cohort not only got to learn the basics of emergency vehicle operation but also to drive through some of the obstacle courses that are actually utilized during training in the JIBC Police Academy.”
Since graduating, Alex has returned to JIBC for formal training after being hired as a correctional officer by BC Corrections. As a B.C. correctional officer, she is responsible for the safety and care of adult incarcerated individuals by providing guidance and supervision. BC Corrections’ Adult Custody Division manages 10 correctional centres across British Columbia that provide safe, secure and supportive settings where individuals in custody are treated in a respectful, fair, and equitable manner.
“In my job, I do many things but the most important is to demonstrate pro-social modelling each and every day. It’s about encouraging individuals to go down the right path and make positive decisions once they’re released from custody,” she said.
When not working, Alex also volunteers as a reserve constable at two local police departments. She recently was on a ride-along with a regular police officer when they responded to a call about an extortion attempt involving a threatening video.
“Using knowledge obtained from my Computer Based Investigations class, I was able to do some online research and discovered that the video the victim had received was actually circulating around the internet. I even found a press release from another police agency warning the public about the video circulating. We were able to reassure the victim that the video they received was simply a scam going around and that it was not specifically targeted toward them.”
Alex says she uses her JIBC education and training on a daily basis whether in her roles as a correctional officer or her volunteer work.
“My JIBC training allowed me to gain confidence in my communication, conflict resolution, research and investigation skills,” she said in recommending the LESD program.
And it had an added bonus.
“The LESD course really made me interested in exploring my First Nations heritage as the Indigenous peoples were very often mentioned through various courses. We even had a specific course on Indigenous Reconciliation. I never really knew much about my Indigenous background, but this program helped me gain insight and interest in learning more.”