Staff Spotlight: Alice Potter
October 9, 2021
My name is Alice Potter. I’m a constable with the Brandon Police Service and an instructor in the Public Safety program at Assiniboine. I grew up in the Westman area on a farm and graduated high school from Virden Collegiate. When taking the position at the college, members of the Service are temporarily promoted to Sergeant, so that’s what I’m referred to while at Assiniboine: Sergeant Potter.
I’ve been a police officer for 13 years; I actually went through the Public Safety program (formerly named Police Studies) at Assiniboine in 2008. And before that, I was in the Royal Canadian Air Force Reserves out of the Brandon armory for 11 years. Ever since my initial time in the program, I’ve been involved with it in some form.
I help with recruitment at the Brandon Police Service, and I’m part of the first few steps in the hiring process. I was involved in general patrol, and then I specialized in traffic; I’m a level 3 in collision reconstruction, as well as a drug recognition evaluation expert. I’m also a forensic mapper, so when there is ever a serious or fatal vehicle collision and they need scenes mapped out, I am involved in that.
I’ve been teaching level 1 traffic investigation for six years. This involves going over simple road markings, how to complete traffic accident reports, and learning about the various highway traffic act offences. I’m also the radar, laser and roadside approved screening device instructor for the Brandon Police Service.Teaching has always been where I wanted to be in some capacity; it has been a passion of mine, and I’ve known since my second year in policing that I wanted to come back to Assiniboine at some point to apply my knowledge.
When I was a student in college, I was actually in charge of teaching my own class drill. That came from my past 11 years of military experience where I specialized in drill. Mark Savy, my instructor in the program at the time, handed over the reins to me to teach the class drill on my second day as a student. I’ve been heavily involved with the program through drill and the final presentation ever since. Now as an instructor in the program, I still teach drill but I also teach things like; criminal code, provincial statutes, community policing and then tie it all together with practical scenario training experiences. Drill can be taught in approximately 15 – one hour lessons. Classes start from the simple position of ‘attention’ and ‘at ease’ and develop into marching with turns on the march, saluting and ceremonial parades.
I have so many great memories from my time as a student at Assiniboine. My instructor, Constable Marc Savy, was such a huge influence, not only for me as a person, but the way he taught us—I still model a lot of my teaching after him. Not only were our instructors incredible, but the group of students I was in the program with were amazing people. I even met my best friend in that program, and we now get to work together at the Brandon Police Service. The class comradery is something I'll never forget. It wasn't easy being a single parent in such a demanding program, but having such great supports available from my classmates and instructors really made the difference. I still remember bringing my son to the college and setting up Guitar Hero for him to play while my classmates and I were working on projects or studying.
The practical training is definitely my favorite part to teach; I’m a very hands-on instructor. I teach my students how to read the criminal code and pull out the different elements out of the offences. It’s one thing to be able to read the code but to then take it and put it into practical training through scenarios it really helps the students understand and recognize offences first-hand. In the third week of the program, I’ve already put students through two different scenarios. Practical training is definitely my favorite way to teach. I love teaching the criminal code and then watching students take that and apply it to a scenario in a practical setting. Taking a group of civilians (the students) that have never read the criminal code and then, in just a few weeks, be able to spot and apply it is very cool to see as an instructor.
I’ve always wanted to be a police officer, but at the same time I’ve loved being able to teach. I’m very lucky to be in a position where I’m able to do both, whether that’s doing training with the Brandon Police Service or now in my position teaching Public Safety at Assiniboine.