Ottawa Police Service in Hunt ClubFeb 16, 2023 - By John D. Reid
For most of us, our interaction with the police is very occasional. We see them on patrol, perhaps attending to an incident; they’re present at festivals and other events. We look for them to be there when they’re needed, and out of the way at other times.
The front-line police officer’s job is no bed of roses. There’s a monument on Parliament Hill to those who lost their lives — names are added every year. The vast majority, good, decent honourable people, are asked to uphold the law and be counsellors and social workers, responding to drug overdose situations and mental health crises. Is that expecting too much of one person? Are they overtasked? Many think so.
According to its website, the OPS aspires to be a “trusted partner in community safety” with a mission “to protect the safety and security of our communities.”
But there’s an elephant in the room. The Ottawa Police Service failed Ottawa in connection with the Trucker Convoy that occupied the area around Parliament Hill a year ago. Studies by the City Auditor General found that the OPS performance adversely affected the city’s ability to quickly and effectively respond to the convoy. There was a lack of timely communication of vital information to other agencies. Some of the police appeared to condone illegal activities. That shook public trust, it will take time to rebuild.
Local OPS Community Police Officers Brad Burleau and Marcus Cibischino commented that, of particular interest for our area, OPS is a multicultural service that prides itself on diversity. Some immigrants come from places where the first thing to come to mind about the police is not “good, decent, honourable people.” So cultural understanding is important for our officers as well as being well-trained in crime prevention, dealing with emergencies, de-escalating and problem-solving.
Maintaining safe neighbourhoods takes us all and knowing each other and interacting is a deterrent to crime: eyes on the streets. As residents, we can also assist others in difficult situations by reporting them quickly to the police through 911 if an emergency, otherwise through the numbers at www.ottawapolice.ca, or to 613-236-1222.
BOX – CRIME STATS
Data for 2019, the latest available from the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study provided by the OPS, shows the rate for all criminal code offences, excluding traffic, averaged 42.5 per thousand population for the city overall, and over 200 for Centretown. It was less than half the average, 20.1, for the part of our Association area east of the north-south hydro corridor west to Sawmill Creek. A greater occurrence of property crime accounted for the 46.7 rate per thousand population for the remainder west to the Rideau River and including Revelstoke. Both areas showed more traffic collisions per kilometre of road than the city overall.