20 Canadian criminal justice students recently got a firsthand look
at the American legal system through an exchange program with The
University of Southern Mississippi.
the eight-year history of the program, participating students from
Canada and Southern Miss have learned about the court system, law
enforcement techniques and administration of correctional facilities
among other areas of each country's legal system.
students travel north for similar educational experiences with Canadian
law enforcement, including Canada's famous Royal Canadian Mounted
Police, through the auspices of the Southern Miss Center for International
and Continuing Education.
forensic science instructor Dean Bertram, who has played a key role
in the development of the exchange program, said knowing how another
county's legal system operates benefits him as a teacher. "It
helps me give my students a more global perspective on the handling
of crime issues," he said.
students, who are studying police techniques as part of a four-year
degree program required before attending a Canadian law enforcement
academy, interacted with South Mississippi law enforcement personnel
during their visit. Their experiences included ride-along sessions
with coastal law enforcement agencies such as the Harrison and Jackson
County sheriff's offices and the Pascagoula, Biloxi, Long Beach,
Ocean Springs and Gulfport police departments.
Highway Patrol also participated in the program.
One of the
Canadian students, Simon Theriault, liked the management of the
region's county jails and correctional facilities and said the system
should be emulated in his own country.
Theriault said. "It's like a real prison should be. It's a
good model for us to follow in Canada."
the assistance of the agencies that worked with the students during
their visit to south Mississippi. "What's impressed me most
is the interagency cooperation among law enforcement in Mississippi
(assisting with the exchange program)," he said. "They've
been so helpful in accommodating the students. They've given them
the red-carpet treatment."