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March 29, 2001 Jean Brisebois plans new image for Security








Jean Brisebois

Brisebois: determined to promote peace and safety on campus.

Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj

by Barbara Black

Jean Brisebois has a lot of background, and he’s already putting it to use in his new job. In the month since he became Concordia’s Director of Security, he has dealt with the overturning of recruitment tables on the mezzanine, a precipitous rise in thefts in the library, and the theft of a large number of computers from the university’s administration offices.

In a varied 30-year career, Brisebois has been an officer in the federal police, director of public security of a Quebec municipality, and responsible for the security of two airports. He was a commander of the Canadian contingent for the United Nations peace mission to Haiti in 1995-96. He served on the Poitras Commission, which looked into criminal investigation and legislation, notably with regard to the Sûreté du Québec.

He comes to a university security department that has been without a permanent director for two years, and faces the challenges of a multi-building, two-campus site. He has 15 Concordia security officers, but the university also requires about 60 additional officers from Garda, a private company.

Brisebois is determined to improve morale, image and effectiveness. Security officers will soon shed their police-like uniform for a tie and jacket. A strong effort will be made to make sure all officers know both campuses well.

In return, he expects loyalty and a firm but respectful attitude from each member of his group. “The students and staff are our clientele — that is very important,” he said.

Even before the current rash of thefts, he planned to upgrade security cameras and alarms throughout the campus, and he expects the rest of us to do our part. He has put a prevention program in place in the library. Security officers are warning library users when they see belongings at risk by putting a bright green card into an untended purse or bag.

In January alone, there were an unprecedented 26 reported thefts by library users, 21 of which were from women’s purses. Brisebois suspects a ring of professionals from outside the university, and until they can be caught, he urges students to be vigilant.

Brisebois grew up in Montreal North, and like many of his friends, left school after Grade 11. He became a surveyor – Habitat 67 and the Canadian Pavilion at Expo were among his subjects – and then answered an ad for a job with a police force. “I soon realized I needed more knowledge, so I undertook courses at the Université de Montréal,” he said. He was soon identified as a promising student, and given a scholarship. He got a BSc, a BBA (business administration) and went back for Master’s of Public Administration, while continuing to do police work.

Brisebois has a palpable enthusiasm for getting involved in his community. He spends many hours a week as a director of the Air Cadets League, “not to make them soldiers, to make them better citizens.” He’s a past president of the Quebec Council of St. John’s Ambulance.

His real love, however, is working with people at risk. He’s on the board of CAFAT, a group in Laval that helps people with dependencies, and he holds monthly business lunches to finance a prize for young people who conquer their addictions and start a new life.