Saskatchewan Launches New Blended Community Safety Officer Program

Saskatchewan Polytechnic has partnered with CPKN to create a blended learning curriculum for the Province's new Community Safety Officer (CSO) program. This six week program will incorporate fifteen online courses from the CPKN catalogue.

"This program will draw candidates from communities across Saskatchewan," says Dawn Fleming, Program Head for Saskatchewan Polytechnic's Community Safety programs. "It was important for us to make it as accessible and efficient as possible for those individuals. A blended approach will significantly reduce the amount of time that candidates will have to spend on site at our Regina campus."

The CSO program was announced by the Ministry of Justice in December as a new approach to helping communities better address low-risk, high priority policing needs. CSOs will have peace officer status that will allow them to take on a number of duties including traffic, liquor, and by-law enforcement and serve as crime prevention liaisons within their communities. This will give RCMP and municipal police services more time to focus on higher impact issues.

Developed in cooperation with Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA), Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) and Saskatchewan Polytechnic, the program will consist of alternate sessions of classroom and online learning.

"CPKN's catalogue provided a lot of foundation skills and knowledge that fit into the overall curriculum," says Fleming. "These courses will provide recruits with content developed by policing experts. At the same time, by incorporating existing training resources, we significantly reduced the time and resources required to develop and roll out this program."

The online component of the program will include approximately 47 hours of online training content delivered over two one-week sessions. Courses will address a diverse range of subject areas, from basic investigation skills to crisis intervention and de-escalation. Candidates will be able to access assigned courses from any Internet-connected computer and work through the content at their own pace and convenience.

"This approach will also enhance the time spent in the classroom. With a lot of the foundation and theory learning covered online, instructors will be able to focus on the more practical aspects of the program."

The first intake to this program was in late February. Saskatchewan Polytechnic expects up to 30 program participants annually.

Related article: Province Rolls Out Community Safety Officer Program (Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice, December 2014)