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In 2019, Can-SEBP teamed up with the Canadian Police Association and the Police Association of Ontario to create a new program for frontline officers seeking first-hand research experience for conducting research.

Each year Can-SEBP Executive, the Canadian Police Association, the Police Association of Ontario, &

the National Police Federation jointly select police officers to participate as Virtual Scholars in Residence.


The Scholars

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detective constable melanie beard

Barrie Police Service

Detective Constable Beard is currently assigned to the Investigative Services,
General Assignments Unit of the Barrie Police Service. She has been a front line officer for
thirteen years, an investigator for three years and prior to becoming a police officer, was
employed as a court officer. After completing the Policing to Reduce Serious Violence,
Cambridge Online Course for Evidence-Based Policing Leaders in 2021, Melanie began a
study to collect data about the recidivism of harmful offenders and the effectiveness of
compliance checks as a deterrence. Melanie’s research interests also include policing and
mental health aspects of the Criminal Justice System.

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Constable chris birkett

Vancouver Police Department

Constable Birkett has been a member of the Vancouver Police Department since 2018 and is currently assigned to the Planning, Research & Audit Section, where he is working on a project that is reviewing the department’s internal policies and procedures. Chris is also the president and a founding member of Out On Patrol, which is a non profit peer support organization for 2SLGBTQ+ members of law enforcement, focused on community outreach, charitable work, and education. In addition to his regular duties, Chris is a member of the VPD’s Strategic Plan Development Team and has successfully assisted in securing nearly $90,000 in grant funding for several new community initiatives, including the Out On Patrol youth scholarship fund and in-school presentation series. In 2021, Chris was recognized with a Chief Constable’s citation, two Deputy Chief Constable’s citations, and the Blue Line Magazine Rookie of the Year award. Prior to joining the VPD, Chris was recognized by the Senate of Canada with the commemorative Canada 150 medal, honouring his dedication to volunteerism and community service.


Constable Mohamad Haidar

Windsor Police Service

Constable Haidar is a senior Constable with the Windsor Police Service and currently assigned to the Criminal Intelligence Unit. I graduated from the University of Windsor in 2010 with a Bachelor of Computer Science and completed a Master of Business Administration at Wayne State University in 2018. I have an interest in using data science and artificial intelligence concepts to predict criminal activity. I want to leverage these technologies to effectively target and deploy crime prevention methods.

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Constable Crystal Myhr

E Division RCMP, Kamloops Detachment

Constable Myhr grew up in the Interior region of BC before moving to the Island to pursue her education.  She had her first ride along experience with Vancouver Police during her Bachelor program and knew she wanted to work with law enforcement.  After working in various roles at a local RCMP Detachment she completed her Masters of Science in Criminal Intelligence studies before accepting a position of Crime Analyst with the RCMP.  Eventually, the allure of working on the road and not behind a desk was too strong and she completed Depot before being posted to Kamloops, BC where she works today in a general duty capacity.  Outside of work, Crystal enjoys spending time with her family, Doodles, golfing, and cooking. 

The Supervisors

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dr. rylan simpson

Simon Fraser University

Rylan Simpson, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University. He received his Ph.D. in Criminology, Law and Society from the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Prior to receiving his Ph.D., he received his B.A. in Sociology and Psychology from the University of British Columbia and his M.A. in Social Ecology from UCI. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his policing scholarship and engagement with policing officials. He is also an executive counselor for the American Society of Criminology’s Division of Experimental Criminology, a member of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police’s Research Advisory Committee, and a mentor for the Canadian Society of Evidence-Based Policing’s Virtual Scholar Program.

Research Interests:     
Policing, perceptions of police, police organizations, legitimacy, experimental criminology, theories of crime, and social psychology. Interested in police recruitment, 
effects of public events on crime/calls for service, police use of social media, and related projects [using publicly available data].


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dr. alana saulnier

Queen's University

Dr. Saulnier is a Canadian criminologist committed to the evidence-based policing movement. She advocates for academic-police research partnerships as critical to advancing the quality and sophistication of Canadian policing. Dr. Saulnier specializes in experimental field studies with a focus on assessing the varied effects of new technologies, but places particular emphasis on community-police relations as an outcome, and how the acquisition of technologies (such as body-worn cameras, unpiloted aerial vehicles, and automated license plate readers, and associated practices such as the use of artificial intelligence) affect community-police relations. Dr. Saulnier argues for fair, accountable, and transparent use of data collection and management technologies with clear and standardized regulatory frameworks. Dr. Saulnier is currently an Assistant Professor at Queen’s University. She has held formal research partnerships with over 20 Canadian police services. Her work is published in peer-reviewed venues such as Criminology & Public Policy, Canadian Public Policy, Policing: An International Journal of Strategies and Management, and Law and Human Behavior among others, as well as in practitioner magazines such as Blue Line.

Research Interests: Applied automatization, AI, and robotics in partnership with the Queens Ingenuity Laboratory; evaluating legal authorities and policies of data collection and technological management (e.g. BWC, UAVs, etc); exploring the public perception of police uses of these technologies.

Current member of of advisory working groups on technology impacts and implementation with CACP, RCMP, etc.


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dr. adam vaughan

University of Regina, Texas State University

Dr. Vaughan is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Justice Studies at the University of Regina, a Research associate with the School of Health, Community & Social Justice, and a Faculty Fellow with the Center of Excellence for Community Health and Economic Resiliency Research at Texas State University. Dr. Vaughan's research focuses on producing empirical evidence pertaining to the spatial and temporal patterns of police interactions with vulnerable populations in the community. 

Research Interests: Policing and mental health aspects of the criminal justice system, wellness of police officers, and the economics of policing.


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dr. krysta dawson

British Columbia - Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (RCMP, CFSEU)

Krysta Dawson, Ph.D., is a Strategic Research Analyst at the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia (CFSEU-BC). She received her Ph.D. in Criminology from Simon Fraser University (SFU). Prior to receiving her Ph.D., she received her B.A. (Hons) in Psychology from Thompson Rivers University, and her M.A. in Criminology from SFU. Currently, she is a member of the Crime and Illicit Networks (CaIN) Lab, and a member of the research team for the Incarcerated Serious Violent Young Offenders Study (ISVYOS). She also is a current mentor for the Canadian Society of Evidence-Based Policing’s Virtual Scholar Program. 

Research Interests: Social network analysis involving crime/gangs, violence, and firearms.

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