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Crime reduction roundtable kicks off Thursday at NIC

The North Island College Department of Humanities and Social Sciences is pleased to host B.C.'s first regional roundtable for the Premier's Blue Ribbon Panel on Crime Reduction on Thursday, January 9, from 7 – 9 pm.

The Premier's Panel on Crime Reduction, comprised of criminologists, former RCMP leaders and a former federal deputy solicitor general, will recommend ways to drive down B.C.'s record-low crime rate.

Panel members, including NIC's own Geri Bemister, began meeting in October, examining crime-reduction initiatives and research from other Canadian provinces and other countries. The Panel will also hold regional roundtable consultation sessions throughout B.C.

Geri Bemister teaches in NIC's Criminology diploma program, including three courses in the current semester – Introduction to Corrections, Introduction to Canadian Law and Legal Institutions, and Criminal Law. She previously worked in research and analysis with the RCMP research chair at the University of the Fraser Valley's Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research. She holds a Masters of Arts degree from the University of the Fraser Valley and a range of certificates in counselling and addiction services. An expert on substance abuse issues, Bemister has undertaken addiction consultation work for a wide range of agencies, including the Correctional Service of Canada.

At its Comox Valley session, the Panel seeks to engage stakeholders from police, local government, corrections, criminal justice, academia, health and social services, and other relevant fields. This approach acknowledges crime reduction initiatives typically focus resources on specific crime problems in local communities, and are multi-agency in nature, requiring collaboration between law enforcement, governments and other partners.

The meeting will be held in the Stan Hagen Theatre, at the Comox Valley campus. An earlier report indicated the public is welcome to observe, but it is in fact closed to the public..

"I look forward to hearing from any stakeholders who've been part of B.C's success in addressing crime in the past, as well as newer voices that may bring fresh, workable ideas forward, said Chair Darryl Plecas, a veteran criminologist and B.C.'s Parliamentary Secretary for Crime Reduction.

The Panel will submit its findings to B.C. Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton by June 30, 2014

"North Island College is delighted to be hosting the Blue Ribbon Panel on Crime Reduction as it provides students with first-hand knowledge of how community consultation and research brings about real change in our local communities," says Jan Carrie, NIC's Vice President of Education. "With NIC's Geri Bemister serving as a member of the Panel, our students will also benefit from having access to the latest research on effective crime reduction strategies and initiatives throughout Canada and the world."

North Island College's Criminology diploma provides an excellent foundation for work in nearly every aspect of the justice system and also complements further study in nursing, medicine, law, teaching, counselling, and journalism. An education in criminology can lead to many positions in government, corrections, and legal administration and provides pathways to a wide range of occupations from correctional officer and court reporters, to legal assistants, police officers, crime analysts, and more. Students may earn two years (60 credits) of transfer credit at NIC toward university degree programs, including a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology at either Vancouver Island University or Simon Fraser University.

For further information about North Island College programs, services and events, please visit http://www.nic.bc.ca or call 1-800-715-0914.

— North Island College

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