Ottawa Police Services Board

October 28, 2013

Chief’s Verbal Report


Good evening,


I would like to take the opportunity to highlight some important information, great work by our members, and unfortunately, some sad news as well.


Death of Retired Member Supt. Knowlton Roberts


We were all deeply saddened to learn of the passing of retired Superintendent Knowlton Roberts on October 5, 2013. Knowlton started his career with the Toronto Police Service in 1975.  Knowlton was a man who made a difference in our community.  Most notably, he was the man behind the creation and implementation of the “John School” here in Ottawa which has helped hundreds of men change their behaviour of preying on the vulnerable of our community – sex trade workers.


Knowlton served as president of the Senior Officers’ association and held many positions within the organization before retiring as a Superintendent in 2009.  Many of us had the pleasure of working with Knowlton over the years. He was a dedicated and compassionate leader, as well as a ‘class act’ and a gentleman.  He leaves behind his wife Margaret and his 2 children Laura and Charles.


DNA Database helps crack unsolved cases – SACA and Robbery Unit


I want to highlight two recent cases that show the ongoing benefit of the DNA databank.


The Sexual Assault and Child Abuse (SACA) Section charged an Ottawa man in relation to a sexual assault on an 11 year old girl that occurred in the summer of 1997.  The girl was grabbed off a bike path in the Hampton Park area by a man.


In July 2013, the suspect was identified through DNA at the RCMP National DNA Data Bank.  Our police service was notified and an investigation commenced.


On August 28, 2013, the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit (SACA) charged Francis Charron, age 45, with Sexual Assault, Sexual Interference, Invitation to Sexual Touching, Uttering Threats and Forcible Confinement.


In the second case, the OPS Robbery Unit also recently laid a charge in a 2004 purse snatching based on DNA evidence.  Late that summer, a mother and daughter were walking when a male suspect came up behind the mother, knocked her to the ground, and took her purse.


There were no injuries but evidence at the scene allowed a DNA profile to be obtained for the suspect.  Based on that work, Robert Lanthier, age 31, has now been charged with a single count of robbery.


As the DNA databank continues to grow, we expect more cold cases to be solved using DNA evidence.


Sexual Assaults


Officers continue to investigate a sexual assault that occurred in the Heron Park area on October 7 where a young woman was attacked while walking home.  Earlier this month a composite drawing of the man thought to be responsible was released to the public.

We are focused on arresting the person responsible and additional resources have been assigned to the case.  It is still too early in our investigation to link this case with other assaults, though we are always looking for commonalities with other investigations.

There are currently several unsolved sexual assaults that Ottawa Police are investigating.  In two of those cases - one in the Greenbank area and one in Lancaster Road area - Ottawa Police has information that indicates the assaults were committed by the same man.


Whenever these types of assaults are reported, it is incumbent on police to advise women of safety issues affecting them.  This can include information about assaults that have occurred and safety tips.  This information is never meant to intone any sense of blame of victims.  It is not a victim’s fault. It is always the perpetrator who is to blame.


As Chief, I have made violence against women a priority for this service and we are working with our partners on this complex and difficult issue.


Part of that work means continuing to educate and remind men of the emotional and physical consequences of violence against women, as well as the legal and criminal implications of these acts.


Michael Swan


On Friday, a jury returned guilty verdicts in the 2010 murder of Michael Swan.


A great deal of effort and dedication is required to affect these types of arrests, investigations and courtroom results. I want to thank all the members involved in the case - from Patrol to Major Crime to Ident and the Communications Centre - for their work.


Even with the guilty verdicts for first and second degree murder, two more men are still expected to stand trial on first degree murder charges in this case.


Annual Canadian Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Service


The Annual Memorial was held on Sunday, September 29, 2013. OPS members gathered in strong numbers to demonstrate our resolve to remember those colleagues who have fallen in the line of duty.


There are many OPS members to thank, both sworn and civilian: all of the organizers of the day including Sgt. Pat Malone and his Parade Marshalls, the Colour Party, the OPS Pipe Band, Inspector Mike Ryan, the Honour Courage Service Committee, our Auxiliary and Venturers, the Choir and all of the members who could not attend because they were working to keep our City safe.  I would also like to thank the Board members who were in attendance.


Pixels for Pistols Cameras for Guns Amnesty Program


With one week left in the Pixels for Pistols gun amnesty, the Guns & Gangs Unit have already collected 830 guns from residents of Ottawa looking to turn them in.


We have seen a great response to this gun amnesty opportunity that was made possible by our partnership with Henry’s and Olympus.  All types of guns have been handed in – from antique handguns to old hunting rifles to 12 gauge shotguns.  The program was launched on October 7th and due to the success of the program it has been extended until November 3rd.


Residents of Ottawa can continue to call police to pick up firearms by phoning 613-236-1222, ext. 7300 or by email at


Thank you and I am happy to take any questions you may have.