18 January 2011
Executive Director, Ottawa Police Services Board
Chief of Police, Ottawa Police Service
REVIEW OF CELLBLOCK OPERATIONS: UPDATE #2
That the Ottawa Police Services Board receive this report for information.
a. Investigative Update
i. As reported earlier, two cases are still under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Special Investigations Unit (S.I.U.). Also as reported earlier, two other cases remain with the O.P.P. for investigation, under a Memorandum of Understanding.
ii. Our comprehensive review of existing files (which included cases already before the Courts, public complaints, and civil litigation) has resulted in the identification of two additional files. These two files evolved from public complaints lodged through Ontario’s Office of the Independent Police Review Director (O.I.P.R.D.) in July and August of 2010 in relation to the cellblock. Both complaints had been sent by the O.I.P.R.D. to the OPS for investigation by the Professional Standards Section (PSS). As a result of the review of existing files, it was decided to send these two additional cases to the O.P.P. to complete the investigations. There are now a total of four files at the O.P.P.
The review, conducted by a Staff Sergeant with extensive PSS experience, is substantially complete.
We have contacted the O.I.P.R.D. to assist us with our case review in a consultative capacity. They have agreed to assist, and we are working with the O.I.P.R.D. to work out the logistics of their assistance.
b. Technical Infrastructure
The enhancements to the video system, the most noteworthy being the addition of audio recording, began the week of January 10th 2011. There will be some challenges given that the cellblock operates 24/7, but these enhancements are expected to be completed by the end of January 2011.
This will enable a simultaneous audio/video recording of all prisoners entering the cellblock and being brought before the Sergeant, as well as the searching and processing of the prisoner at the Special Constable intake area. The audio system will be manually activated for each prisoner entering the cellblock; the cellblock will remain monitored by video 24/7.
Internal communication and external communication is important to ensure confidence with and within the police service. This has included discussions publicly and with the membership through parades and unit meetings by Superintendents, Deputy Chiefs, and the Chief.
As an interim measure to improve the supervisory span of control, the Court Security / Temporary Custody Staff Sergeant (who was originally responsible for both the Courthouse and Central cellblock) was physically moved from the Courthouse to the Central cellblock.
A 2009 SGI (Strategic Growth Initiative) sworn Staff Sergeant position, intended to be deployed into Criminal Investigative Services (CIS), has been re-directed to Central cellblock in a new position, Staff Sergeant Temporary Custody – Central Cellblock. This competition was posted December 21st, 2010, and closed January 7th, 2011. The intent is to have a permanent Staff Sergeant in cellblock, maintaining this new layer of supervision.
Once this position is filled, the Court Security / Temporary Custody Staff Sergeant will return to the Courthouse.
As part of our accountability improvement process, a daily report to the Superintendent, Support Services has been initiated, reporting on cellblock staffing, the number of prisoners, charges, warrants, injuries or illnesses, any altercations or use of force, strip searches, release numbers and types, and any other significant issues.
Job-specific training for cellblock Sergeants and Special Constables started the weekend of January 8th 2011, and is expected to be completed by the weekend of February 5-6, 2011. Cellblock Sergeants and Special Constables will receive an additional 16 hours of job-specific training which was developed in consultation with instructors at the OPS Professional Development Centre. This will continue annually, and is in addition to legislated Use of Force re-qualification.
On December 24th, 2010, the new policies were posted on the Intranet. These deal with Intoxicated Persons; Prisoner Care and Control; Arrest of Persons; Search of Persons; and Release of Persons.
Officers bringing prisoners to the cellblock are following policy in terms of presenting their prisoner to the cellblock Sergeant, and prisoners are now processed one at a time.
The review of policies, procedures and training, undertaken by Presidia, will form part of the final report to the Board, as required by legislation, after the SIU has returned jurisdiction of the files to the OPS.
Deputy Chief Bordeleau had a meeting with the Community Police Action Committee (COMPAC) on January 13th 2011; the Committee has been kept up to date on these matters.
A Critical Incident – Critical Stress (CI-CS) Team was activated to work with the community and communicate with them.
For costs associated with the cellblock audio/video enhancements, please refer to the report submitted to the Board in December 2010.
There will be some costs associated with the new cellblock-specific training for those personnel. These costs will be absorbed by the 2011 overtime budget provisions.
In December, the Service awarded two contracts to support the work of the project group, in accordance with the Chief's delegated authority under the Board's Financial Accountability Procedures (FAP) Manual.
We have engaged the services of Thornley Fallis to provide enhanced monitoring and analysis of both traditional and social media. This firm is on the City's standing offer list.
The Service has also extended the contract with Face Value Communications to provide strategic communication and issue management support to the project team.
Funding for these contracts has been identified in the Corporate Accounts.
Another report to update the Board on these matters will be forthcoming.
(original signed by)
Chief of Police