The Ottawa Police Service hosted the Community Policing Forum: ~Building Trust Together~ on May 13, 2019. The aim was to “Explore the status of community policing in Ottawa and identify actionable recommendations for building community policing initiatives.” The top four themes from the forum were:
- Build partnerships and bridges
- Be visibly and actively engaged
- Foster mutual trust
- Acknowledge underlying challenges
Efforts to continue the work for the safety and well being of the community led to many other initiatives. The following is a glimpse of some of the initiatives that Ottawa Police Service have undertaken:
- Joint Senior Officers, Staff Sergeants & Managers Meeting: The focus of this quarterly meeting was around exploring and sharing the results of the Ottawa Police Service’s first Community Policing Forum and continue to support the service with the implementation of the Community Policing Strategy. Guest Speaker ~ Retired Chief William Evans/Boston Police Department, was also invited to share his experiences of implementing successful community strategies
- Interfaith Safety Forum: The Ottawa Police Service hosted the Interfaith Security Forum on June 18th, 2019. The aim of the event was to share information with faith communities in Ottawa about security, to hear their safety concerns, and to examine opportunities to move forward together with the aim of making Ottawa safer for all communities of faith. Topics discussed included: Security plans and networks. Proactive security measures for faith groups, Responses to hate crimes, hate motivated incidents and violent extremism and a presentation on the MERIT Program.
The main themes/recommendations from the event included:
- Increases outreach and community stakeholder consultation sessions
- Increased: training, assessments, the sharing of information, and visibility of police.
- In regard to an Interfaith Security Advisory Council, the community feedback recommended an examination of the previous council and clarification of intent and purpose
Ottawa Police Service pilot neighbourhood based policing initiative: The Ottawa Police Service will launch a pilot program whereby Neighbourhood Resource Teams will be reintroduced into three Ottawa priority neighbourhoods in October, 2019:
- Carlington, and
- Heron Gate/South End areas of Ottawa.
Each team will be staffed with dedicated teams of 8 officers that include 3 Neighbourhood Resource Officers, one Community Police Officer, one School Resource Officer, one Traffic Officers, and two additional rotational development Officers. The officers will be assigned to each area with the goal of enhancing overall community safety and well-being through the implementation of community-policing strategies. The officers will be visible and accessible in these areas and will work to develop positive, trusting relationships with community members. The effectiveness of the teams will be independently assessed by a team of researchers from Carleton University lead by Dr. Linda Duxbury who will report their findings after a 1-year assessment period.
Multi-Agency Early Risk Intervention (MERIT) : After a series of focus groups aimed at the development of a local strategy to address violent extremism , MERIT CVE, in collaboration with the United Way Ottawa developed the United For All Coalition, an initiative where a group of the city’s leading community service organizations address issues connected to hate, violence and extremism in Ottawa. United For All is supported by membership with the Strong Cities Network; it has representative organizations for each of the demographic and vulnerable groups who experience a higher proportion of hate and violence. Using a community policing approach, MERIT CVE is contributing capacity training to agencies on the spectrum of hate and violence, and facilitating the transmission of data to support place based programming to be offered in various settings from community level to work places, and schools. United for All will have an online presence, active media campaigns (counter narratives), advocacy work, program development and evaluation is all geared towards building compassion and building resilient communities.
Ottawa Police Services Board (PSB) approved our 2019-2020 Strategic Direction. It’s an 18-month plan of action that reflects how we will continue to work together to find new ways to balance the needs of our community and our Members, within our fiscal and operational environment. The Ottawa Police Board and the Ottawa Police Service identified the following four areas of focus:
- Advance Community Policing;
- Make meaningful progress on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI);
- Support our Members; and,
- Modernize the work environment.Y
Equity Diversity Inclusion (EDI) Program: Responding to community demands, work is in progress for the development of an EDI office, EDI Strategy, and a Multi Year Action Plan that aligns across the service. Work is also in progress to deliver key projects in the fall of 2019 including: The Traffic Stop Race Data second two year report and the Diversity Audit Report from Graybridge Malkam.
Youth In Policing Initiative (YIPI): is an employment program with the Ottawa Police Service for youth 15-18 years of age who are attending a secondary school program. The goal of the YIPI program is to give young people an opportunity to develop job skills while enhancing police and community relations. The Summer YIPI program session runs from June to August, whereas the winter session takes place from December to March. For approximately 35 hours per week, the participants will work in various Sections of the Ottawa Police Service, support community initiatives and learn valuable life and employment skills. YIPI participants will also have a working relationship with a number of valuable youth-serving organizations in Ottawa.