York police officer bringing real life to the classroom

Photo by Nicole O'Brien

Rodney Sine taking a break from teaching to catch up on some reading.

Rodney Sine went from an enforcer of the law for the York Region Police Force for 33 years, to a part-time professor at both Durham College and Seneca College mentoring eager Police Foundations students  about the justice system.

Tell me what you do

It’s my fifth year here at Durham College teaching the Police Foundations Justice Program. And on the side, I teach also at Seneca College for the same program.

What expertise from your background of being on the York Region Police Force can be used in your field now?

My 33 years as a York Region police officer, I use that expertise. For example, for a course I taught this morning, it’s a criminal justice system. It introduces them to the justice system, the three main components, the police, the court, and corrections. So because for 33 years I dealt with all three all the time, I use my expertise and stories about courts and dealing with judges, lawyers and crown attorneys.

How relevant is your research/expertise?

Very much so. I took the course myself at Seneca, and it still hasn’t changed.

They use our life lessons and skills that we saw on the job to relate back to explain what they are going to experience in the field.

How and when did you get interested in this area you are in now?

I got approached by a previous professor at Seneca college in 1986 who asked me to come teach at night at Seneca. And then I got into our Community Service Bureau with the York Regional police where I lectured in high schools and colleges.

Who inspired you along the way?

When I got interviewed at Durham College, I met a lady named Maureen Tapper. She was the one that actually was quite interesting during the interview and expected certain things from me to be a teacher here. And then Charles McAfee, he and I taught at Seneca College at the night time program. So he’ll tell you I followed him around the world. I did follow him here.

What projects have you been involved in?

The Safety Village.. yes.  So I got seconded, that’s a police term to do that job full time, for the last five years of my career (on the force). I worked on that project, building it. It was the biggest project I was involved in. At first, we didn’t have any money, we didn’t have anything, Police Chief Fantino just said at the time you’re going to build and raise money Rodney. It was like something to be blessed to be a part of. I was very lucky.That was a wonder, that was really great to be involved in that great big project. I am not involved with any current projects.

What is one important thing about your field that you want people to know?

Well, that it’s not like t.v, it’s anything but that. You think when you get on as a young police officer that you’re going to put everyone in jail. Well that don’t happen. The justice system is adverse, it’s against itself. It’s a very controversial system. And it doesn’t work perfect at all. You can’t stop crime, it’s always going to be around. So it’s a reality check, even for me, and then trying to explain to them what you see on television is not going to be the same. It is kind of an eye opener. The court system, which I’m teaching now, it’s a very backwards old program, and I mean we still follow those same rules.

What do you think is the toughest challenge you have faced in your field?

I think until you’re a teacher, no one really understands what it’s like to be. The time in the classroom is easy, it’s the time marking, time studying, time making the class interesting. That they want to be there and come back.

What is your favorite part in your field?

Being a mentor to the students. Them coming back or them remembering what you taught them, watching them succeed. It’s nice to see them succeed and fulfill their dreams. And they come back and say thank you, which is the greatest thing. It is very rewarding to have someone come back and remember you.

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Nicole O'Brien is a second year journalist student at Durham College. She enjoys writing about the campus, entertainment and sports for The Chronicle. Her work can also be seen on her entertainment blog, www.entertainmentgirl.wordpress.com and also on the lifestyle blog Godigio. In her spare time, Nicole enjoys watching movies and listening to music. She hopes to one day work for an entertainment news network on either radio or television.


  1. Professor Sine is an incredible teacher, and an even better human being. This man taught me much about enforcement, but he also taught me about family.
    I owe him nothing, but respect and gratitude.
    I consider him a mentor in my life.
    It has been a pleasure to come across this article.