Be a role model, be a peace officer and change lives

Be a role model, be a peace officer and change lives

BC Corrections aims to boost hiring numbers with professionals passionate about making a difference

Scott Bertrand recalls receiving the hand-written thank-you card in the mail. That’s not unusual but this card was from a former inmate and Bertrand was one of the BC Correctional officers who oversaw his time in the provincial correctional system.

As a young correctional officer, new to the job, Bertrand supervised the man’s living unit, learning that they grew up in the same hometown. It was the inmate’s first time in a correctional centre and he was having some family challenges.

“He needed someone to talk to, about his life and plans. He saw there was no judgment from me and I was able to relate some of my experiences to what he was going through,” Bertrand recalls.

After the man’s release, he sent the card thanking Bertrand for taking the time.

“We really do have an impact,” Bertrand says, moved to know he affected the life of another person. “I really saw that many of our inmates are receptive to change and we have a huge opportunity.”

Double the opportunity

Over the coming months, BC Corrections’ Adult Custody Division aims to double the number of new officers it typically hires – offering meaningful careers for men and women with the skills and personal qualities needed in today’s peace officers.

“Our staff are our greatest asset and we believe they act as strong role models in both their personal and professional lives,” says Stephanie Macpherson, Provincial Director, BC Corrections, pointing to the BC Corrections’ vision of ‘Inspiring Excellence and Changing Lives.’

“Our staff truly care about helping those who have found themselves in custody. They want to make a difference and have a positive influence on these men and women. We firmly believe our leaders are so successful because they are such strong role models. Every moment we exercise the choice to display who we are as individuals and as officers. To us, it really is all about the people and believing there is an opportunity for change.”

Marking 10 years with BC Corrections, Bertrand started working for the organization at 19, fulfilling years-long interest in the field. “I knew at a very young age that this was something I wanted to do,” he says.

While incoming officers are often a little older, with other job and life experience, Bertrand brought both a keen interest, a background with the community and travelling, and awareness that communication would be one of his greatest strengths.

Inmates of all ages appreciate his position of mutual respect, demonstrated through words and actions.

“Communication is a huge part of what we do. I reinforce that I’m going to treat them with respect and all I ask in return is that they do the same,” he says.

“As soon as a client sees that you feel that empathy, it’s amazing how much progress you can make with them,” Bertrand says.

Rewards of the job

On a personal level, the married father of young children appreciates the growth opportunities and work-life balance BC Corrections affords.

With 10 correctional centres around B.C. housing about 2,800 inmates at any one time, BC Corrections employees work directly with inmates, supporting positive change in their lives and working toward successful reintegration into society.

In addition to compensation, benefits and pension, a flexible shift schedule also allows officers to balance family responsibilities. Professionally, Bertrand also enjoys the diverse career opportunities with room to grow and advance.

Just Posted

Vanessa Barrett is competing to be the face of fitness for a health and bodybuilding magazine. (Vanessa Barrett/Special to the Maple Ridge News)
Ridge fitness champ aims to become face of magazine

Vanessa Barrett wants to add ‘Ms Fitness’ to her titles of entrepreneur and mom

A Nova Scotia court has overturned the conviction of a man with ties to Maple Ridge. (Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck)
Conviction thrown out for supposed leader of Maple Ridge cannabis smuggling conspiracy

A Nova Scotia appeals court found there wasn’t enough evidence and quashed a four-year sentence

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Darryl Mazor share a photo of his 78-year-old mother, Rena Mazor, singing to her 45-year-old cockatoo, Sassie. (Special to The News)
PHOTOS: Only one Fab Senior could win…

But there were more than a dozen worthy seniors who were entered in the photo contest

During a recent late afternoon, with a nice breeze blowing through her Maple Ridge backyard, Zoe Bell caught pictures of a hummingbird visiting her garden, then about 30 minutes later a “beautiful butterfly” arrived to help the boths, bees, and other insects pollinate. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Searching blooms for sweet nectar

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

The Coquihalla Lakes washroom is getting upgrades. (Submitted)
Coquihalla to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation is providing $1 million in funding to upgrade 3 rest areas

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Emergency crews shut down White Rock’s Five Corners district on Feb. 19, 2020 following an assault. (File photo)
Trial underway in February 2020 death of White Rock senior

Ross Banner charged with manslaughter following Five Corners altercation

Most Read