May 13 -19 is National Police Week and we are proud to have numerous Cape Breton University Alumni working in the Cape Breton Regional Police Service (CBRPS), across the country and globally.
When Constable Scott MacDonald graduated from Sydney Academy High School in 2006, he had his plans for the future all lined up. “My Dad was a police officer for 42 years,” he says. “So I knew from a young age that I wanted to follow in his footsteps.”
Thankfully, says Cst. MacDonald, he was given great advice on how to get started on the road to policing. First step? Enrolling in the Bachelor of Arts Community Studies (BACS) program at CBU.
Once enrolled in the program, Cst. MacDonald decided to concentrate on Political Science, and says Professor Pam Seville was integral to his success in the program. “She helped and guided me from the first day I stepped into her office to the day I graduated,” he says. “For that, I owe her a huge thank you.”
Because of the flexibility within the BACS program, Cst. MacDonald says students have the opportunity to maintain a police-based focus throughout their studies. He completed his volunteer hours with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Crime Stoppers and took a variety of law-based political science courses which he says provided invaluable knowledge and skills.
One course that stands out to Cst. MacDonald is Political Science – Famous Trials. He says learning about the famous trials that helped shape today’s legal system is incredibly beneficial to anyone looking to work in the field of law-enforcement. “Plus, it’s one of the only categories I can school my wife in during Jeopardy!” he says.
Although many of Cst. MacDonald’s classmates entered the program with a similar interest in policing, there were some who decided to change their paths during the journey. “What’s so beneficial about the BACS program is that the courses apply to various fields, meaning the opportunity to change career paths is always available to students,” he says.
But Cst. MacDonald’s path never swayed. In 2009 he graduated from CBU and soon after was enrolled in the Police Academy at Holland College. “Going to CBU helped me develop better communication skills and a great base in law that was incredibly useful while in Police Academy,” he says. “Those skills are just as important today when I find myself in a variety of situations that come with the job.”
After graduating from the Academy in 2012, Cst. MacDonald was hired as a member of the Cape Breton Regional Police and has been working in patrols for the past six years.
“I’m one of those lucky people you hear about, who landed their dream job working at home,” says Cst. MacDonald. “I love working in Cape Breton because it has always been home to me. I couldn’t have done it without CBU.”
Now, Cst. MacDonald has been looking into continuing his studies, as he only needs a few more courses to earn a certificate in Public Administration with a concentration in Law and Policy Study.
Cst. MacDonald’s advice to those looking to enter the field of policing is to strongly consider an undergraduate degree and plenty of volunteer work. “At the end of the day, everyone comes out of the Police Academy with the same diploma,” he says. “So it comes down to whatever else you can bring to the table.”