Ottawa Police Services Board
May 28th, 2012
Chief’s Verbal Report
Good evening and thank you for the opportunity to provide you with an update on some of the activities since the last meeting in April.
Race Based Data Collection
All members of the Board will be aware of the settlement between the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the body that was announced earlier this month in regards to race based data collection. The fundamental principles of this initiative are outlined in the settlement. I know how important the race based data collection project is to members of our community and to our service and I know it will put our organization in a leadership position on this issue.
We are very aware of the need to develop a strong consultation and implementation plan to ensure that all interested parties, external and internal, will have a meaningful say and can understand how the study is being undertaken.
We have discussed this issue with the Chair and informed him that we are currently developing a go forward plan that will honor the settlement. I hope to bring that plan to the Board’s policy sub-committee soon to ensure members are aware of the process and can have their questions answered in a timely manner.
Iranian and Arab Communities
Just last week, community members from the Iranian and Arab Communities attended a community engagement meeting at the Ottawa Police Association. The event brought members of the Ottawa Police Service, the Ottawa Police Services Board, COMPAC, and the Iranian and Arab Communities, together around issues such as how to make the right call, hate crimes and their reporting, and diversity and race relations.
I would like to personally thank and acknowledge all of those who were in attendance at the event as it was another great example of how we can work together to build trust and a better appreciation of the role of police in the community, and promote a culture of openness.
Some members of the Board may be aware that we celebrated Police Week between May 13th and 19th. The week featured a number of great community-police events across the city.
The week was officially proclaimed by Mayor Watson, Chair El-Chantiry, myself, and community partners at a BBQ fundraiser for the Ontario Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run at our headquarters.
It included another eighteen neighbourhood events, planned by our Community Police Centre officers, their volunteers, and community partners, which focused on one of our main crime prevention and community mobilization programs – Neighbourhood Watch. This year's Police Week was truly an opportunity to celebrate our police profession and our important community partnerships such as the Ottawa Neighbourhood Watch Executive Committee, the GLBT Liaison Committee and the Community Police Action Committee, to name a few.
Sexual Assault and Guns and Gangs
In terms of operations, we have seen several high profile cases in the last few weeks.
Some strong work by our investigators led to the arrest of a man suspected of sexually assaulting several women in the community. A total of 27 charges have been laid in 8 incidents with more to possibly follow. I want to thank the officers involved and the public for keeping a focus on this issue and on these events until an arrest could be made.
As well, earlier this month, the execution of two warrants by our officers under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act led to the seizure of a small amount of controlled substances and two illegal 9 mm, hand guns. Unfortunately, the issue of handguns in our community continues to be one that we are taking action on through a number of initiatives including the Guns and Gangs Unit.
Earlier this month, we also received some media coverage regarding the handling of a 911 call of a man whose first language was Polish. The facts of that case were enough to substantiate the man’s arrest and the bringing of charges to trial by the Crown.
At the same time, our review of the handling of the 911 call showed that some procedures were not followed in ensuring a person can receive translation services in addition to English and French, and the call could have been handled better.
We have reviewed the matter and have taken steps to remind the staff involved, as well as all staff in the Communications Centre, of the availability of translation for languages other than French and English.
The staff who handle 911 calls are a professional group of individuals who are highly trained and I know they will take this incident seriously and work to ensure similar incidents do not reoccur.
Board Chair El-Chantiry and I had the opportunity to join the Ottawa Police Venturers in celebrating their 27th anniversary just last week and to congratulate 29 of these young people on their graduation from the program and their contributions to the Police Service and their community.
I would like to make special mention of Civilian Advisors Ryan MacDonald and Heidi Danson for their continued service to the Ottawa Police Venturer Program. As well, Constable Clint Danson received the “Community Builder” award to recognize his 17-year commitment to the Police Venturers.
Finally, as an update on how this service remains committed to supporting the Ottawa Crime Stoppers program, I wanted to let members know that we have invested in the program by purchasing a new vehicle for Crime Stoppers.
Along with providing the vehicle for operations and events, Crime Stoppers will now be able to market their program by decaling this unit in a promotional fashion.
That, Mr. Chair is the conclusion of my Verbal Report.