Road Safety

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) continued to make road safety its priority in 2019. The Traffic Service Unit spearheaded a number of important initiatives, in addition to its commitment to monthly Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) priorities.

One of the bigger realignments came with the introduction of the Neighbourhood Resource Teams (NRTs). Three new NRTs were unveiled in late 2019, which would augment community police initiatives in neighbourhoods that were experiencing a higher volume of calls for criminal activity. The NRTs combined frontline officers with Community Police Officers, School Resource Officers and Traffic Services members, to create a holistic approach to enhancing public safety. This whole-of-service approach would be further developed into 2020.

The team also supported ongoing initiatives including the holiday weekend Market Enforcement Initiative and the Downtown Mobility Project. Additionally our Traffic Services Team conducted yearlong RIDE programs that saw 276 Provincial Offence Notices (PONs) issued, and four residents charged with driving while impaired.

In March, the team launched Operation Springboard, which stationed both Traffic Services officers and frontline officers at designated areas across the city, in a collaborative initiative to engage frontline officers in traffic safety issues. Failing to stop at a stop sign, for example, would yield a driver a $325 fine. In total, officers issued 456 tickets during this year-long program and helped to raise awareness about road safety.

In 2019 the team helped to train frontline officers on how to use the Automatic Licence Plate Reader (ALPR) that helps OPS quickly identify expired licence plates and drivers that are wanted for other criminal issues. Our partners at Safer Roads Ottawa (SRO) helped to expand our scope by providing the funding to purchase four ALPRs – one of each now embedded at Huntmar, St. Joseph’s and Elgin stations; the final one being used as part of Traffic Service’s road safety toolkit. This was partnered with yearlong training for frontline officers and new recruits in Radar/Lidar operations, to enhance Service-wide capability to reduce or eliminate speeders or traffic violations in our city. In total, 20 training sessions were held in 2019.

The OPS launched its stop-arm camera project on Ottawa-area school buses in 2019. This initiative was coordinated with help from SRO, and installed cameras on the front and back end of the school buses to catch people illegally passing them while stopped. It started with two buses in June, and expanded to four more in September, and was part of an educational campaign aimed at protecting our city’s children. As of October last year, OPS had issued 60 charges using the cameras.