Two MRU Criminal Justice alumnus protecting lawmakers as Sergeants-at-Arms

Former police officers encourage lifelong learning

The pathways for graduates of Mount Royal University’s Criminal Justice program are many and varied, from policing to practicing law and from community outreach to corrections.

So it is of note that currently two current Sergeants-at-Arms in provincial legislatures are graduates of the program from the same year. While their careers have had different trajectories, both find value in their positions protecting lawmakers and providing a secure environment for the important work of legislative assemblies – and both have some advice for current students.

Sergeants-at-Arms take on a vital role in maintaining order and security within provincial legislative chambers. The position is responsible for upholding decorum and safety of parliamentary proceedings and the Sergeant-at-Arms maintains the physical security of the legislature, including controlling access to the chamber, ensuring the safety of members, and safeguarding parliamentary assets. They also play a ceremonial role during important events. The Sergeant-at-Arms symbolizes the authority and impartiality of the legislature, reinforcing the democratic principles on which the provincial government operates while fostering an environment conducive to effective lawmaking.

Tim McGough emigrated from England in 1986 to become a police officer in Alberta.

“I was looking for some quality post secondary education that would assist me,” he says, adding he chose Mount Royal as at the time it offered a two-year transferable diploma in criminology.

Tim McGough
Tim McGough is the Sergeant-at-Arms for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Photo courtesy Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

After graduating in 1989, McGough joined Medicine Hat Police Service where he spent 31 years in a variety of areas that included the ALERT Organized Crime Section, major crimes, patrol operations, professional standards and administrative services. He was supervisor of the Firearms Training Unit and was tactical team and incident commander. He was also an active associate member of the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police and sat on numerous AACP provincial committees.

Retiring from MHPS in 2022 as an Inspector, in June 2023, McGough started working as the Sergeant-at-Arms and Executive Director of Precinct Properties for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

“The Sergeant-at-Arms is responsible for coordinating the protective services and security of the Legislature Assembly and precinct properties with the highly trained officers of the Legislative Protective Service,” McGough says, adding he also oversees the building management through the Precinct Properties Branch.

“The role also includes ceremonial services on behalf of the Ontario Legislative Assembly. My typical day when the house is in session includes assistance to the speaker in maintaining decorum on the house floor and providing security services. When the assembly is not sitting my day is filled with meetings, strategic planning, and budgeting like any other executive director.”

McGough would encourage students considering the program at MRU to choose professors that challenge them and courses that interest them.

“Use the MRU degree as the foundational piece to becoming a lifelong learner. Dr. John Winterdyk, PhD, was an excellent motivational instructor who pushed me to be my best in the classroom, challenged my thinking and encouraged me to continue my studies after Mount Royal.”

Lyall Frederiksen was interested in becoming a police officer in high school. At the time, Mount Royal had an established transfer program to Simon Fraser University. “Being a young person with multiple options for what I wanted to do with my life, it was attractive that Mount Royal offered real world exposure to the field and professionals working in it,” Frederiksen recalls.

Lyall Frederiksen
Lyall Frederiksen is Sergeant-at-Arms for the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan.

After graduating from Mount Royal in 1989, Frederiksen completed his studies at SFU and soon after joined the RCMP. He was transferred to Saskatchewan and remained there throughout his policing career.

“I spent 20 years working at seven detachments at various ranks. The later portion of my time was at the Saskatchewan headquarters building. There I worked in Criminal Operations, commander of a high-risk offenders unit, watch commander in the operations center, and finally a commander of the conduct unit.”

After 28 years, he retired from the RCMP at the rank of Staff Sergeant and joined the Saskatchewan Legislature security unit, becoming the Sergeant-at-Arms in February of 2023.

“We conduct ceremonial duties, most commonly the Speaker’s parade where the Mace is brought into the Chamber. As well, we address security issues at constituency offices across the province.”

When asked about his advice for current students, Frederiksen echoes McGough in urging them to never consider their education complete.

“Learning does not stop after school, sorry but it is true. Incorporate learning into your work/life balance and make it enjoyable so you want to continue doing it. Explore, take courses that interest you even if they are in a different program. Take a detour here and there, have some fun, explore activities at the university outside of the set program.”

Frederiksen remains a fan of MRU and of the Criminal Justice program, which says “has a good reputation for drawing subject matter experts into their classes. The Calgary region also has a full set of Justice institutions to explore for real world exposure.”

Read more about Justice Studies at MRU.