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Education Outside the Classroom

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Brian Carter, BA, CPP

MA (Education) student


“I wanted to research police education and try to improve [it] to better serve the community.  I have always been concerned over the excessive use of force issues police face, recognizing it is preventable through better education.”

Brian Carter has been an educator for over twenty years. But you won’t find him teaching in a public school classroom. Brian is a police educator. He’s trained RCMP officers and Haitian National Police officers, and now, he’s studying in the Mount’s MA Education program to research better ways to train police officers to resolve difficult policing and security situations without using violence. 

Before starting his graduate studies, Brian served 25 years in the RCMP, with an expertise in officer survival and how to survive armed encounters. During that time, he gave expert evidence on the use of force in the supreme court of Nova Scotia, and he served in Haiti, training the Haitian National Police in 1995. 

Improving training to make communities safer

After Brian left the RCMP, he came to Mount Saint Vincent University, first as the Manager of Safety and Security, and later, as a student in Lifelong Learning. He decided to enrol as a part-time graduate student to study police education. He believes that by improving the quality of education that police officers receive, he can help them better serve the community.  

“I have always been concerned over the excessive use of force issues police face,” he says, “recognizing it is preventable through better education.” 

Brian's thesis will look at the history of police education to identify where, despite improvements, there are still too many cases of excessive use of force. He hopes that his work will help police educators improve their methods of teaching, and that they will measure their success by using methods that provide true learning opportunities for students.

Facing challenges

Brian recognizes the challenges that police agencies face when educating their forces. His goal to improve the quality of teaching is a difficult one, since agencies are only able to devote limited time and financial resources to continuous education. But he believes that his project is important in helping police officers to protect the communities they serve, and to achieving the essential balance of officer safety and not using too much force. 

The MA Education program is helping Brian to develop the skills he needs to face challenges like these in order to improve the quality of policing and the safety of communities through better police education. 

“The Lifelong Learning Master’s Program is providing me the tools to research and write, to meet my goals of providing opportunities to improve police education.  This degree is not going to be used in the traditional sense of teaching in a classroom, it is much broader than that.”