School of Criminal Justice & Security

The School of Criminal Justice & Security offers programs that provide the theoretical knowledge and applied understanding for students and professionals in law enforcement, justice and security-related fields.
• Corrections & Community Justice Division
• Justice & Public Safety Division
• Police Academy
• Sheriff Academy


Civil liability and the police use of force in Canada
In Canada, the use of force by police must occur only within the parameters of federal laws, provincial regulations, and organizational policies. There is no obligation on the part of the police to use force in every situation, for which it would be legally justifiable to do so (Sec. 25, CCC). The use of force is dependent upon both the unique circumstances of the incident and the particular decisionmaking strategies of the individual officer.
Crisis intervention: the police response to vulnerable individuals
Police agencies require a specialised response when dealing with individuals who are vulnerable owing to their emotional, mental or physical state. During their time of crisis, these individuals may be irrational and violent due to factors that include suicidal ideation, psychosis, emotional upheaval and the influence of a substance. In a significant number of these cases the police response has resulted in the wounding or death of the vulnerable individual. As a result, police officers require a comprehensive strategy that will provide an emotionally charged individual an opportunity to calm down or, an individual in a drug/alcohol-induced state an opportunity to regain perspective. By way of specialised training, tactics and less-lethal weaponry the police may be able to facilitate a successful intervention to an otherwise tragic event.
Critical incident stress: the personal impact of a police shooting incident
A recent study of more than 400 fatal police shootings that took place, over a 20-year period in the United States and Canada highlighted the need for police to be aware of the dynamics associated with a police shooting. In many cases, the surviving officer and his or her family were unexpectedly left to come to terms with a life-threatening event that was complicated due to the controversial death of the assailant.
Deaths during police intervention
A 35-year-old male with a history of bipolar disorder fatally stabbed his 9-year-old son on the front lawn of the family residence. After shouting that he had “killed Satan,” he began removing most of his clothing. Summoned to the scene, six officers approached the irrational subject. They employed pepper spray to gain control of the combative male, handcuffed him, and “hog-tied” his legs to restrain him while they placed him in the rear of a police vehicle. As this occurred, the man suffered a massive heart attack and died. A subsequent coroner’s inquest determined that his death resulted from excited delirium.
Decisionmaking and the police use of deadly force
A precarious relationship exists between democratic societies and the police agencies that have been created for the purpose of maintaining law and social order. In an attempt to maintain law and order, police officers may be required to use force in their day-to-day contact with the public. Police have at their disposal the capacity to act as judge, jury, and executioner, if need be.
Final report: Collaborative research exchange proposal: a collaborative approach to ensuring the health and safety of persons with disabilities when interacting with law enforcement officers
It is anticipated that the issues and initiatives identified in this project will form a basis for building better understanding between persons with disability, disability groups and police organizations  that will improve the safety and well being of disabled persons in the community and when interacting with police.  
Identification of potential risk factors for injury to police officers in using new technologies
This research explored the possible links between injuries to police officers, their equipment, and technology (on personnel duty belts and in police vehicles), and musculoskeletal injuries and motor vehicle accidents. The researchers aimed to identify, develop, modify and support workplace safety and well-being initiatives, contributing to injury reduction among police officers. The researchers set out to identify police vehicle and equipment design issues that contribute to on-the-job injuries, and to make recommendations addressing these concerns. They discovered that while police vehicles are increasingly becoming mobile work stations, complete with computers and other new equipment – both in the vehicles and attached to officers’ duty belts – little has been done to address the ergonomic and safety problems arising from such changes. Through observation and consultations with members of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and Justice Institute of B.C. (JIBC) recruits, the researchers developed a series of recommendations for improving police vehicle safety and comfort. Based on their findings, the researchers propose that immediate action be taken on issues identified as having low-cost, common-sense solutions, and that ongoing partnerships be built to address questions that require more complex strategies.
The police use of deadly force: international comparisons
While the societies of the United States of America and Canada are similar in many ways, recent research has noted significant differences in the rates of extreme violence between the two nations. Extreme violence includes the police use of deadly force, the murder of police officers by an assailant, the homicide rate of the general population and violent crime such as firearm robberies. Despite the differences in crime rates, trends in crime in the two countries are quite similar. The findings of this study illustrate that the perceived threat and calculated risk for police officers in the United States is substantially higher then for police officers in Canada, and in many other nations. This may explain why police officers in the United States utilise deadly force in greater frequency than in most western nations.
Youth justice in Canada: theoretical perspectives of youth probation officers
The Youth Criminal Justice Act, like its predecessor, the Young Offenders Act, incorporates philosophies, principles, and procedures from several theoretical models of youth justice. Concerns have been raised regarding how challenging it is for the various youth justice professionals responsible for implementing this law to apply it consistently across cases with varying characteristics. This article reports on a study of youth probation officers in British Columbia under the YCJA. It involves probation officers’ reviewing five, actual, serious and/or violent young offender cases from across Canada. Their theoretical orientations to the different cases were derived from diver- gent models of youth justice. Despite the hypothesis that probation officers’ responses would vary on the basis of case characteristics, overwhelming consistencies were evident in four of the five cases. The probation officers’ approach typically rejected sentencing recommendations drawn from polarized models of youth justice, such as welfare or as crime control. Instead, probation officers preferred a model that represented a more eclectic approach, such as corporatist and modified justice.