Ottawa Police Services Board
March 25, 2013
Chief’s Verbal Report
Tragedies such as the loss of Cst. Steve Dery of Kativik Regional Police Force and Cst. Jennifer Kovach of the Guelph Police Service remind us all of the dangers our members face in the line of duty and the importance that everyone and every day matters.
I would ask that we observe a moment of silence to honour our fallen brother and sister who gave their lives in order to make this world a better place. Thank you.
And now, I’d like to update the Board on some of the activities our Service has been involved in since our last meeting.
Outstanding Inquiry I-13-01: Long Range Facilities Plan
On a procedural note, responding to Councillor Harder’s inquiry from the last Board meeting regarding when the facilities plan is coming forward, the Facilities Strategic Plan is currently being drafted for presentation at the June Board meeting.
Every year, as the warm weather months approach, we see an increase in the number of street level robberies across the City. These crimes take up a great deal of our Robbery Unit’s caseload. They are called robberies and not thefts because of the criminal code definition.
The most frequently targeted items continue to be newer smartphones like iphones. Like they do every year at this time, many of our robberies have been occurring in high traffic areas such as near school campuses, near bus routes, where people often check, or use, their devices.
We continue to see varying levels of violence ranging from simple assaults up to, but infrequently, something as severe as a stabbing which happened in late February in Beacon Hill.
The Robbery Unit, lead by Staff Sgt. Mike Haarbosch, has recently made a significant number of arrests of individuals associated to these robberies, as well as the stabbing.
This unit continues to work closely with the Crown’s Office, OC Transpo Security, and our School Resource Officers and Neighbourhood Officers to increase information sharing and is also using social media to raise awareness.
Staff Sgt. Haarbosch has also been very vocal in local media to highlight this safety issue reminding residents to be aware of their surroundings and to protect their valuables when in public places.
This fall, we’re also looking forward to a new national database the telecom industry is introducing to allow for the sharing of information on stolen phones/devices across providers to prevent the reactivation of stolen phones – an initiative the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police have been advocating.
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to speak at the I.Lead Conference. This large conference, where over 2,000 people attended, was geared towards Muslim youth and their families, and focused on youth issues in the Ottawa area.
Community engagement has long been a priority of our Service and I am pleased to say that we have seen steady engagement and outreach from a number of our diverse communities.
I would like to draw the Board’s attention to a difficult call that our officers faced on March 15th. Motorists had noticed a woman behaving in an irregular manner on the Hunt Club Bridge, near Prince of Wales Drive.
When officers arrived at the scene, the woman was hanging over the far side of the guard rail, supported by only one hand. The woman was confused and crying, however Cst. Paul Stam was able to engage her in conversation and got close enough to grab her in a bear hug and pull her to safety.
The woman told officers she intended to commit suicide and has ongoing mental health issues.
I raise this case not only to recognize the good work of Constable Stam, but also to illustrate how police officers are increasingly involved in getting persons with mental illness access to appropriate services.
We have found some solutions such as our Mental Health Unit and working with the Ottawa Hospital (physiatrist driving along with officers) but we know that more work is needed to address this ongoing reality.
Thank you and I am happy to take any questions you may have.