This is my first official Police Services Board meeting as your new Chief of Police. I want to thank the board once again for the confidence it has placed in me to serve this community as Chief of Police. It is an honour for me to lead the great women and men of this police service. My swearing is was a memorable occasion for me and my family and I look forward to a formal change of command ceremony in the coming months. It has been a busy first 3 weeks, but very productive and rewarding. People are starting to hear and understand my message that everyone matters.
Everyone in the organization I have the honour to lead matters.
Everyone in our community who may require our protection matters.
Everyone in our community who may require our sanction matters.
My focus will be to ensure we are providing a quality service to our community while ensuring we are trusted and respected. My priorities will be to engage with the community, ensure the well-being of our members and operating in a sound fiscal environment.
Keeping Ottawa Safe
1. Prostitution Laws
Today, the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision in the appeal involving the Bedford Case—whereas on September 28, 2010, Ontario Superior Court Judge Susan Himel struck down three provisions of the Criminal Code addressing facets of prostitution (keeping a common bawdy house; living on the avails; and communicating in a public place for the purpose of engaging in prostitution).
The safety and security of all women remains a priority for the Ottawa Police Service.
As we conduct a fulsome review of the decision, we are awaiting an indication from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the Ministry of the Attorney General regarding whether the Ontario Government expects police services to continue to implement the current laws pending an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
The position of the Ottawa Police remains the same until further legal steps are taken. As a practical matter, prostitution sweeps will continue to be used as a tool, when appropriate, and will be driven largely by community complaints.
2. Guns and Gangs
Despite our recent success in Project Ace (11 persons charged with 85 firearms and drug related offences, 5 firearms recovered) and Project Bullseye (131 criminal charges laid) our community saw a gang related murder this past week. 1st degree murder charges have been laid against one individual and our investigators continue with their investigation. In addition to enforcement efforts, we must continue to work pro-actively with our community partners to educate our youth on the dangers of gang activity.
3. Traffic Safety
Our community suffered yet another loss of life as a result of an impaired driver. Erin Vance, age 26, a mother of twin 5 year old boys was struck and killed by a drunk driver last week in Constance Bay. The Board Chair and I attended the funeral to represent the Ottawa Police Service and show our support. Erin’s dream was to become a police officer. Over this past weekend, 4 young adults are lucky to be alive after their car flipped on Innes Road near Frank Kenny. The driver of that vehicle has also been charged with impaired driving related offences.
4. Getting ready for spring
Members of the community should start seeing more of our bicycle officers starting their patrols as we begin rolling our 2012 bike patrol season. This year 101 officers will get their training to patrol parks, pathways, neighbourhoods and the downtown core. This year, we have been able to reduce the cost of the program by $25,000 through efficiencies.
1. Going green
This month we are adding 10 new vehicles with Idle reduction systems for a total of 14. These vehicles will be deployed in the downtown core. As a reminder this is a partnership with the National Research Council.
1. Recognizing our people
As you know, Employee Well-Being is a priority of mine and I believe that it begins with recognizing our members.
Staff Sergeant Isobel Granger was presented the Champion award by the Black Women’s Civic Engagement Network (B.W.C.E.N) in a well attended ceremony on March 8th, 2012. This award was presented in recognition of her work as an individual who has advocated on behalf of issues affecting women and whose hard work, excellence, professionalism and service has made a profound difference in the lives of women.
On Friday March 9th, 2012 the Intercultural Dialogue Institute (Ottawa Chapter) recognized Cst Mohamed Elmi for Altruism, Dedication and “Contribution to Multiculturalism”. Cst. Elmi set out to design and build an English elementary school in the town of Bur-Salah to provide all children with an equal opportunity to learn without being discriminated based on their tribe, religion, race, gender or financial background. The school will give up to 300 children access to a free education thereby reducing the rate of illiteracy in the region over time.