Twenty-four recruits arrived at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) this morning to begin extensive training and learn what it takes to become British Columbia's next deputy sheriffs.
The training regimen is intense and diverse. In addition to studying their important role in provincial courtrooms, the recruits will also go to the shooting range for firearms training, learn the techniques needed to operate a sheriff vehicle and spend time in the gym for use-of-force training.
The recruits are as diverse as the training. They range in age from 21 to 44 and among them speak Cantonese, Greek, Farsi, Japanese, Kurdish and Tagalog. Their previous work experience includes employment in the security and public safety fields. Some have volunteered as reserve police constables.
By the time the course finishes in April, it's expected 58 sheriffs will have graduated in the last six months and started work in B.C.'s justice system. The majority of the new recruits will be deployed to the Lower Mainland to assist with a number of high-security trials that are taking place and are scheduled throughout the year. Recruits will also be sent to Prince George, Fort St John, Nelson and Cranbrook.
The Province continues to invest critical resources in the justice system, including appointing 14 new judges since 2010 and the ongoing hiring of court administration staff and sheriffs. Government remains committed to looking at ways of developing and implementing measures to increase court efficiencies and help avoid court delays.
In November 2011, 34 recruits received their deputy sheriff badges in one of the largest graduating classes in recent history.
B.C.'s more than 480 sheriffs work in 45 courthouses and 44 circuit courts in communities throughout British Columbia.
Their main responsibilities include:
- Providing prisoner escorts between court, correctional centres and police lock-up facilities.
- Courthouse and courtroom security, including the management of courthouse lock-up facilities.
- Jury management.
- Providing close personal protection services to government, as well as threat assessment to ministries.
It takes approximately six months from the time a need for a new deputy sheriff is identified until they are recruited, hired, trained, oriented and ready for work.
The Sheriff Academy is located in New Westminster, and the program is one of the founding members of JIBC.
Justice Institute of BC Sheriff Academy:
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Attorney General
250 889-5945 (cell)