From Councillor Hill
"Thank you, Madame chair, Board members, and Chief Stubbs for taking the time today to hear my delegation on the topic of the Ottawa Police Services strategic plan and how I see the need for a modernized Ottawa Police Service in order to deal with the current threats to community safety.
To start, I want to say that I am extremely appreciative of the hard work that our brave men and women in uniform perform day in and day out.
I also want to state my appreciation for Chief Stubbs, who has been an active resource for me as I grow into my role as a City Councillor. Just this month, Chief Stubbs responded quickly to a request I made on behalf of Rabbi Blum and the Torah Centre for more patrols in response to recent events and the fear of anti-Semitic violence. In a moment where our Jewish community was at its most vulnerable, Chief Stubbs and the OPS responded with speed and grace.
Our police take personal risk in order to help keep our most vulnerable safe. For that you have my utmost gratitude and appreciation.
Despite that hard work and dedication, as a City, and a Police Services Board we are falling short. I hear about policing every day and to be very clear, it is the number one issue that I hear about. Stunt racing, aftermarket exhaust modifications, car thefts, break and enters and traffic safety in and around our schools. I have heard loud and clear from Barrhaven residents their concerns on these issues and frankly put, the status quo allocations of resources are not sufficient going forward. We need to see change from the operations of the Ottawa Police in terms of policy and strategy. We need clear and coherent prioritization of these issues from this board and I recognize that I need to do my part and help ensure that you get the resources that you need in the upcoming budget process. Perpetrators are feeling emboldened, and residents are scared. The status quo is not acceptable.
On the 6th of October, I hosted thirteen families who are living in fear because they believe that their ethnic community are being targeted by organized criminals, due to multiple brazen daytime house breakins on Kilspindie Ridge during a religious holiday. I visited the houses in this community and heard directly from them their fear and their desperate need for reassurance from the Ottawa Police. A question that I heard from Ayo and Barbara who live on Kilspindie and whose vehicle was stolen on the 1 st of October; ‘if someone was breaking into our home, how long would it take Ottawa Police to come and help us? Would they get here in time to protect us?’
Our communities need to have trust that in the worst case scenarios, they will not be left unsupported. Having two patrol cars in the “West Ottawa” area is not sufficient in the worst case.
Stunt driving is an epidemic in Barrhaven. Action is required. My residents need to be reassured that the Ottawa Police have a strategy that will directly address this incessant and flagrant ignorance to basic courtesy and traffic safety. Cameras. Additional enforcement. Tracking vehicles of interest. Private partnerships. New legislation. I want to work with the Ottawa Police Service in order to advocate effectively from the City of Ottawa to the Province and the Solicitor General the need to modernize the highway traffic act. I believe that it needs a comprehensive update, but specifically we need change for the following three issues:
1. The sentencing for stunt driving needs to be stronger;
2. The sentencing for multiple offense stunt driving needs to be stronger; and
3. The allowance for new technologies such as sound detection radar systems that can record decibels from vehicles needs to be incorporated into legislation to address exhaust system non-compliance.
Finally, I want to address the issue of municipal police resources being employed in support to Federal government demonstrations and diplomatic security operations. Ottawa is certainly unique amongst other Canadian municipalities in that we are also the seat of federal power. As a result, many of the security related considerations that our municipal police are required to manage are due to federal, not municipal, policies and priorities. This was most clearly seen during the illegal and unacceptable occupation of the downtown core last year by protesters that were focused on Federal policy.
In a world of scarce resources, it is unacceptable to me as a suburban councilor who has very real security concerns in my ward that Ottawa police officers, the only resources my residents have for protection, are reprioritized from patrolling my community to attend to issues that are Federal in nature. Parliament Hill has significant policing resources at its fingertips. The Barrhaven resident whose car was stolen, or had their home broken into, only has the OPS.
In summary, I look forward to working with you as we collaboratively address the need to modernize our approach to crime in Ottawa – being proactive with the strategic deployment of police resources, ensuring our municipal budgets are up to the challenge ahead of us, advocating for changes to the province regarding the Hwy traffic act, and working with our federal partners to address the jurisdictional gap that the municipality is inappropriately and excessively filling.
Thank you for your time and attention to these important issues for me and for Barrhaven."