Chief's Message

Headshot of Chief Peter Sloly in uniform

I am pleased to present you with the 2019 Ottawa Police Service (OPS) Annual Report. It outlines the important groundwork, with the relevant statistics and analysis, that has been done in the past year to enable us, as an organization, to take bigger and more meaningful strides to improving policing services and responding to community needs.

It’s a story about the OPS’ commitment to continuous improvement and making meaningful, needed change; about a police service that continues to demonstrate a willingness and ability to adapt to the constantly and, in some cases, exponentially shifting societal landscape to ensure that we are able to effectively, equitably and ethically serve all the people of this city while providing a healthy, safe and rewarding workplace for all of our members.

In 2019, the Ottawa Police Services Board (OPSB) and the OPS embarked on a series of major efforts that would become the foundation for renewed organization and increased service delivery capacity that aligned with the Board’s strategic direction. That hard work afforded us the ability to start shaping policies, programs and partnerships that are going to be a sea-change for the organization in the near future and in coming years.

In the spring of 2019, the OPSB commenced its search for a new Chief of Police.  I decided to apply to be the chief because of the OPS’ history of innovation, leadership and professional members who were personally committed to excellence.  I wanted to lead a police agency that had the capacity to be great, that would continually improve and change itself to meet the needs of the community members and Service members alike.  The Board selected me to be the Chief and gave me its mandate – to make needed changes in the OPS and to accomplish the Board’s strategic priorities. While there have been some frustrations, disappointments and challenges, I remain convinced that the OPS is a great organization, filled with great people, working in a great city, working with great community partners.

In the summer of 2019, the OPS launched its new Neighborhood Policing program in support of the Board’s “Community Policing” priority.  This was the deployment of the first set of Neighborhood Resource Teams (NRTs) in areas of the city experiencing higher calls for service, criminality and social disorder. The NRTs include foot patrol officers, school resource officers, community police officers and traffic service officers working in cooperation and coordination with other City services and local community leaders to create a more holistic and tailored approach to resolving issues relating to each specific neighbourhood.  The NRTs will be the main point of intersection with the City’s “Community Safety & Well Being” (CSWB) plan. The CSWB is new legislation in the Police Services Act of Ontario that requires every municipal government to design, implement and evaluate a community safety and well-being plan that brings together the police, education, health, social services, the not-for-profit sector, representatives of our demographic communities. The CSWB will enable a new integrated service delivery model that better assesses and addresses human needs from birth to death; that seeks first to do no harm, that operates under a public health/harm reduction model.

During the 2019 City Budget process, the OPS secured funds for major investments to advance the Board’s Health and Wellness priority for all OPS members. This included a $4.2 million in investment in Wellness programming including peer support, specialized health programming, unlimited access to professional psychological services and resiliency training. While that spending will continue, we have also begun to review those services to ensure that we are meeting the needs of members, keeping pace with best practices and identifying new opportunities to get our members the supports they deserve. This will enable our members to deliver more effective and productive service to the community.

In the fall of 2019, the OPS moved forward with the Board’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) priority when we received and actioned the Diversity Audit and the Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project. This was discussed in detail at the Human Rights Learning Forum (HRLF) that we hosted with some of the city’s most engaged and active residents who care about the future of this city as well as the OPS. We used the feedback from the community to build the framework of what would become the OPS’ EDI Action Plan in 2020.

In the winter of 2019, I concluded an intense process of internal and external stakeholder consultations, along with a series of strategic planning sessions, to identify 2020 opportunities for major investments to advance and accelerate Board’s Modernization priority for the OPS. This process resulted directly in the following accomplishments:

  1. January 2020 – the Board approved an Accelerated Hiring Plan to increase the quality, capacity and diversity of the OPS’ workforce;
  2. February 2020 – the Board approved an EDI Action Plan to plan to fully and effectively implement previous report recommendations;
  3. March 2020 – the Board partnered with the OPS on an initiative to reduce sexual violence and harassment in the workplace, to speed up internal resolution of complaints and to establish appropriate procedures for preventing and reducing harm.
  4. April 2020 – the OPS launched its Respect, Values and Inclusion Directorate, composed of the EDI section and the Respect, Ethics and Values section, to help improve in areas of workplace harassment, discrimination, human rights issues, ethics, diversity and inclusion.
  5. May 2020 – the OPS deployed its fourth NRT in the ByWard Market to develop and maintain effective relationships, and collaborate with community leaders to identify and address issues of criminality and social disorder in Lowertown, Sandy Hill and the ByWard Market.

We accomplished these major advancements despite the fact that the City of Ottawa and the OPS were faced with numerous unprecedented crises involving public health and public trust, along with massive social, political and economic disruptions that have resulted. These crises have demonstrated the resilience and brilliance of the OPS to adapt and change. It has also created a burning platform to significantly  accelerate an advance to the changes that the Board and the Service began in 2019; to address individual bias, workplace harassment, systemic racism while improving equity, diversity and inclusion; to improve how we deliver services while respecting and protecting our most marginalized, disenfranchised and disaffected communities; to implement neighbourhood policing while improving integrated service delivery through the CSWB plan; to demonstrate a higher return on value for taxpayer dollars while properly investing in our members’ health, safety and wellness.

We are listening, we are learning, we are responding and we are changing.  We all know that any change is difficult – it is especially challenging in a police organization. That said, my command team and I, along with the vast majority of the OPS members, are committed to making those changes.

We accomplished a lot in 2019. There is a lot more work to do in 2020.  We all accomplish it together.

Chief Peter Sloly

Ottawa Police Service