Peeling the paradigm: Exploring the professionalization of policing in Canada

  • Kelly W. Sundberg Department of Economics, Justice, and Policy Studies, Mount Royal University, Calgary, AB, Canada
  • Christina Witt Calgary Police Service & Department of Economics, Justice, and Policy Studies, Mount Royal University, Calgary, AB, Canada
  • Graham Abela Taber Police Service, Taber, AB, Canada
  • Lauren M. Mitchell Department of Economics, Justice, and Policy Studies, Mount Royal University, Calgary, AB, Canada
Keywords: Professionalization of Police, Professional College, College of Policing, Police Reform, Knowledge-Based Policing

Abstract

Maintaining public trust, legitimacy, and credibility in a constantly evolving society has proven challenging for police in the 21st century. Rising public concerns regarding police accountability are driving the need to advance the paradigm of policing by reassessing the organizational structure of law enforcement in Canada. Supported by research identifying primary directives for maintaining public trust, this proposal argues that the time has come for policing to evolve from an occupation into a formal profession. Just as any other occupation that has advanced into a profession, provincial regulatory colleges of policing should be formed with the key objective of protecting the public from malpractice and malfeasance. A provincial college of policing would allow for (a) sustained and inclusive recruitment strategies, (b) foundational knowledge of the scholarship of policing, (c) evidence-based academy training, (d) mandatory ongoing (in-service) police education, and (e) expert, objective, community-focused, independent oversight. This proposal uses characteristics of the College of Policing in England and Wales as a guiding framework for the support and preparation of professionalizing policing in Canada.

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Author Biographies

Kelly W. Sundberg, Department of Economics, Justice, and Policy Studies, Mount Royal University, Calgary, AB, Canada

Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Justice, and Policy Studies.

Christina Witt, Calgary Police Service & Department of Economics, Justice, and Policy Studies, Mount Royal University, Calgary, AB, Canada

Detective and Lecturer,  Department of Economics, Justice, and Policy Studies.

Graham Abela, Taber Police Service, Taber, AB, Canada

Chief of Police

Lauren M. Mitchell, Department of Economics, Justice, and Policy Studies, Mount Royal University, Calgary, AB, Canada

Department of Economics, Justice, and Policy Studies

Published
2021-12-15
How to Cite
Sundberg, K., Witt, C., Abela, G., & Mitchell, L. M. (2021). Peeling the paradigm: Exploring the professionalization of policing in Canada. Journal of Community Safety and Well-Being, 6(4), 187–190. https://doi.org/10.35502/jcswb.227
Section
Social Innovation Narratives