Service Initiative

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Policing across North America is facing a lot of pressures - increasing costs, city growth, changing demographics, growing demands for service, and the increasing complexity of crime.

Ottawa is no different.

The Ottawa Police Service created a program called the Service Initiative (SI) to address these pressures and improve how we serve the city of Ottawa.

We are looking to introduce a number of changes over the next few years to be more effective in:

  • Managing the growing demands in our city (e.g. rise in high-tech crimes, human trafficking, etc,);
  • Assigning our police officers in the community;
  • Conducting investigations and solving crime;
  • Using crime information to improve public and officer safety; and,
  • Handling court processes, such as leveraging technology.

Project updates 

For more information, or if you have questions, please email us


Ottawa Police Strategic Operations Centre (OPSOC)

The Ottawa Police Strategic Operations Centre (OPSOC) has been launched!

OPSOC is a hub for frontline, day-to-day operations and acts as a virtual back-up for officers on the road. It has been operational since October 24 and provides the following support:

  • Maintains situational awareness across the city as well as a service-wide common operating picture;
  • Supports frontline officers, particularly during high risk and/or complex calls for service; and,
  • Pulls together intelligence information to share with officers while they are en-route, on scene, or in the early stages of an investigation.

The OPSOC assisted with over 70 calls for service in the first 10 days of operations including a gun call at high school in Barrhaven, a demonstration on Parliament Hill, as well as missing persons, an armed robbery, a suicidal person with a firearm, and threats.

Some of the critical information that can be shared with officers responding to calls for service includes floor plans, suspect photos and other information, video footage, and even previous related incidents.

The OPSOC is located within Greenbank police station and is staffed by a Staff Sergeant who acts as the Watch Commander, a Constable who is responsible for operations support, and a Crime/Intelligence Analyst who is assigned to support the platoon on duty, as well as keeping an eye of neighbourhood-level patterns and trends.

While the start-up of the OPSOC is focused on information dissemination and situational awareness, the Centre will continue to evolve and play more of a tactical and strategic role of coordinating and directing proactive police work, particularly with the launch of the new Frontline Deployment model in January of 2017. It will also be a key support during Ottawa 2017, where Canada will be celebrating 150 years as a nation and the capital will be host to numerous events spanning the entire year which will require our best coordination efforts.


 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - Updated March 2017

Q.  Why are you changing the way you deliver services?  

Q.  What changes will I see? 

Q. When will I see changes?

Q. Is the Service Initiative program based on another city's model?

Q. What are the benefits of making the changes to the Frontline Deployment Model? 

Q.  Are you getting rid of community policing?

Q. Will there still be Community Police Officers?

Q. How are you determining "high priority neighbourhoods"? 

Q. Will lower priority areas have less access to police services?

Q. Are you closing Community Police Centres?

Q.  Will I still have a School Resource Officer (SRO) attend my school?

Q.  Will I still have a point of contact at the police?

Q. Will frontline officers receive additional training as a result of the new model?

Q. What sort of training do frontline officers receive in terms of diversity and cultural sensitivity?

Q. How do you plan to do more proactive policing?

Q. How will the Ottawa Police Strategic Operations Centre (OPSOC) assist operations?

Q. Are you looking at ways to improve data sharing both with and from the community?

Q. Has any thought been given to using civilians more? 

Q.  How will you track whether the changes you make to the Frontline Deployment Model are working?

Q. When do you plan on implementing the new policing model?

Q. How are you going to continue to involve the community?

Q.  How can I give input into the changes?

Q. How were the East/West/Central boundaries created?

Q. Is the ONS available online?

Q. If a new neighbourhood develops and/or grows, will the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) be able to adapt and provide the necessary service for that area?

Q. What is the Community Advisory Group (CAG) and how was membership established?

Q. Will OPS continue to use volunteers in the new model?

Q. Are the Community Police Centres (CPC) closing? Will there be standardized hours of operation?

Q. Who is the primary point of contact for communities - the CPO or the Community Intake Coordinator?

Q. Will the Neighborhood Watch Program continue?

Q. Will requests for OPS participation in community events go into a database?

Q. Will frontline resources spend more time on proactive policing?

Q. Since the OPS has a separate Diversity and Race Relations Unit, how will the unit integrate with the Community Police Centres?  

Q. Will the same performance metrics from the past be used in the future to determine if the new initiative is successful?  

Q. Will the new model be measured on a consistent basis and will the results be made public? 

Q. How does the new model affect schools and the School Resource Officers (SROs)? 

Q. What phone number do I call to contact the police?

Q. How can I provide feedback?

 


  

Q.  Why are you changing the way you deliver services? 

A.  We are facing pressures and challenges namely due to:

  • Budget constraints;
  • City growth;
  • Changing demographics and a number of societal trends (e.g. aging population and increased interactions with individuals with mental-health issues);
  • Rising complexity of crime (e.g.  human trafficking and high-tech); and,  
  • Higher expectations from the public to address community safety concerns (e.g.  road safety, violence against women, and gang activity).

The OPS launched the SI program to address these pressures and enhance its service delivery model so it is sustainable and adaptable. Through the SI, our goal is to improve service, produce quantifiable person-hour or real-dollar efficiencies, create cost-recovery opportunities, and enhance partnerships.

Q.  What changes will I see?

A.  It will be easier for you to access our services online, in person, and by phone.  You will see improved public safety because of better coordination of our frontline officers involved in mobile response, proactive policing, and community engagement, and more focus on priority individuals and neighbourhoods.   You will also see improved handling of investigations to better serve victims of crime and hold offenders accountable, more streamlined court processes, and better use of intelligence information to keep our city safe.

Q. When will I see changes?

A.  Some changes are already underway. You can now report more offences online.  This includes thefts, thefts from vehicles, and mischief to property, and soon, fraud and drug complaints.  Additionally, you will see even more options for the use of telephone and online reporting later this year. 

We are working with internal members and consulting community partners and the public to gather feedback on other changes to our service delivery model that will take place over the next few years.

Q. Is the Service Initiative program based on another city's model?

A. No. This initiative is unique to the Ottawa Police Service. However, we have reviewed best practices from across the world.

Q. What are the benefits of making the changes to the Frontline Deployment Model?

A. Currently, frontline resources at the OPS are spread across three different directorates and fall under different command structures. This limits the ability to be flexible and responsive to changing needs in the community.

As well, the duties of frontline officers - mobile response, proactive policing, and community engagement -- are divided unequally and not carried out in a coordinated way. The result is unbalanced workloads, duplication of effort, and the existence of silos among frontline officers.

By bringing frontline officers together, the OPS will be better able to respond to changing demands for service in our growing city, increase proactive policing opportunities to address emerging crime trends, create unity of effort through a team-based approach, level resource demands and workloads, and ultimately enhance public and officer safety.

Q.  Are you getting rid of community policing?

A.  No.  Community policing has always been vital to our success and will continue to be an integral part of our policing model.   It builds trust and relationships within the community; it enhances public safety; provides police with important insight into neighbourhoods; and helps prevent crime and directs proactive work.  As well, it involves the community in finding solutions to problems. 

Q. Will there still be Community Police Officers?

A.  Yes. The new Frontline Deployment Model has dedicated Community Officers as part of its Community Safety Services Unit. The OPS is looking to be more evidence-based to ensure it is focusing resources where they are needed. Community Officers will be realigned to better address high priority areas.

Q. How are you determining "high priority neighbourhoods"?

A. The process for identifying high priority areas is still to be determined. However, inputs will include community feedback, OPS data related to calls for service, results from the most recent OPS public survey, and data from the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study. Once the high priority areas have been identified, they will be assessed on an annual basis. This will allow the OPS to match resources to community needs, rather than simply geographic locations.

Q. Will lower priority areas have less access to police services?

A. No. All residents will continue to have access to community officers and policing services. What's changing is we are looking to better assist high priority neighbourhoods that require more police assistance.

The new Frontline Deployment Model will work similar to the current School Resource Officer program whereby SROs are assigned a number of schools and the schools are ranked according to their level of needed police assistance. Some schools are visited more frequently, however, all schools have access to an SRO. This model has proven very effective over the years.

Q. Are you closing Community Police Centres?

 A. Not at this time. The OPS still needs to evaluate whether there is still a requirement for all of the CPC buildings based on the new Frontline Deployment Model.

Q.  Will I still have a School Resource Officer (SRO) attend my school?

A.  Yes.  You will still have SROs in your school performing the same services they do today.

Q.  Will I still have a point of contact at the police?

A.  Yes. The new Frontline Deployment Model will include focused points of contact within the Community Safety Services grouping of the model. They will be able to assist with mobilizing resources to address community safety issues, providing information, assisting communities with concerns, and arranging for OPS members to attend meetings/events as able. A streamlined intake and report-back process will be developed to ensure consistent service delivery and measures will be taken to involve the community in the development of this process.

While residents are encouraged to file their reports through established intake processes (e.g. Call Centre, online reporting, etc.), the OPS recognizes that community partners need to have a focused point of contact with whom they can raise their concerns and who understands their neighbourhood.

Q. Will frontline officers receive additional training as a result of the new model?

A. Police officers currently receive extensive training in a number of areas. The OPS will be doing an assessment of the current training and comparing it with the job requirements in the new model. A training schedule will be developed to provide members with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to provide service effectively and consistently, in the new model.

Q. What sort of training do frontline officers receive in terms of diversity and cultural sensitivity?

A. All new recruits receive diversity training as part of their education at the Ontario Police College. They also receive relevant training, while working at the OPS, about diverse communities specific to Ottawa. Every training session at the OPS has diversity components added in for both sworn and civilian members.

Q. How do you plan to do more proactive policing?

A. By reducing the types of calls officers are dispatched to, and through the realignment of our frontline resources, we will be creating more opportunities for proactive work.  As well, the Ottawa Police Strategic Operations Centre (OPSOC) will also be a key support in directing resources where they are needed in the city.

Q. How will the Ottawa Police Strategic Operations Centre (OPSOC) assist operations?

A. OPSOC will provide the OPS with a centre that serves as a hub for day-to-day frontline operations, supplying a common operating picture of what's happening across the city at any given time. It will maintain situational and operational awareness of incidents, resources, events, road blockages, etc, and be a key support to frontline operations, particularly during high-risk and complex calls for service known as 'trigger calls'.

The Centre will improve both public and officer safety with its ability to access and leverage integrated information sources, and supply officers involved in trigger and other calls, with near real-time intelligence, whether en route, on scene, or in the early stages of an investigation.

Q. Are you looking at ways to improve data sharing both with and from the community?

A. Yes. We currently have systems and processes in place to share data and knowledge with the community. While not specifically related to the SI Program, the implementation of the OPS Information Management and Information Technology (IM-IT) Roadmap will enable service improvements and further improve our ability to retrieve, integrate, and share information more quickly and broadly with the community.

Q. Has any thought been given to using civilians more?

A. Yes. We are looking at ways to use civilians for work that does not need to be done by a sworn officer. For example, in the Demand Management project, we have developed alternative responses for non-emergency Priority 4 calls. Many of these calls can be handled by our Call Centre which is made up of civilian employees.

Q.  How will you track whether the changes you make to the Frontline Deployment Model are working?

A. An internal program evaluation framework is being developed to assess the Frontline Deployment Model in terms of effectiveness and efficiency, and to ensure it is achieving the expected benefits. The OPS will be gathering input from the community as part of the evaluation process. As well, as part of the OPS's move to become more evidence based, service standards will be established to assist with measuring performance.

Q. When do you plan on implementing the new policing model?

A. Some changes are already underway. You can now report more offences online, including thefts, thefts from vehicles, mischief to property, and soon fraud and drug complaints.

The new Investigative model (which is mainly a realignment of reporting structures) and the Ottawa Police Strategic Operations Centre (OPSOC) will be implemented in the fall of 2016.

The new Frontline Deployment Model is targeted to be implemented in January of 2017.

Q. How are you going to continue to involve the community?

A. The SI will be establishing a Community Advisory Committee to ensure that the diverse needs, interests, and perspectives of the community are taken into account as the OPS introduces changes to its service delivery model. Membership of the committee will be selected based on having diverse representation and perspectives, and including groups that will be most impacted by the new service delivery model. The OPS is hoping to have the group established by September.

Q.  How can I give input into the changes?
A.   Ongoing dialogue and consultation with the community will be part of the process. You are also welcome to email your comments or questions.

Q. How were the East/West/Central boundaries created?

A. The East, West and Central sectors were established through a process that considered a number of options and incorporated the following guiding principles:

  • Analyze distribution of service time across the city;
  • Equalize workload;
  • Cluster Ottawa Neighbourhood Study (ONS) neighbourhoods to establish deployments areas; and
  • Optimize allocation of resources to achieve organizational objectives.

Q. Is the ONS available online?

A. Yes.  ONS is committed to providing data that is publicly available and accessible. You can find the ONS online.

Q. If a new neighbourhood develops and/or grows, will the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) be able to adapt and provide the necessary service for that area?

A. Yes.  Our new deployment model is based on both geography and demands for service. As a neighbourhood grows by either population or by land use, the deployment model will adapt to accommodate the changes based on demands for service.

Q. What is the Community Advisory Group (CAG) and how was membership established?

A. The Community Advisory Group (CAG) was created to encourage and enhance stakeholder collaboration and ensure that the many and varied voices within the community were represented and heard

The CAG was established at the direction of the Police Services Board (PSB), who wanted to ensure multifarious representation on such a committee.  CAG consists of a group of 26 members who are reflective of the community, and includes agencies representing strategic partnerships, organizations that the OPS is required to consult with because of Provincial Adequacy Standards and, finally, a cross representation of the city's established network of community groups.  In line with the Chief's priorities, the selection of the CAG membership reflects the diversity of Ottawa's residents, includes vulnerable sectors such as youth and women affected by violence, and involves those working tirelessly to address emerging trends/issues such as mental health.

Q. Will OPS continue to use volunteers in the new model?

A. Yes.  Volunteerism is a corner stone of community policing. The Community Safety Services (CSS) strategy is evolving and the role of volunteers will be one aspect of examination within the Community Interface Strategy.

Q. Are the Community Police Centres (CPC) closing? Will there be standardized hours of operation?

A. There are no immediate plans to close Community Police Centres. The hours of operation for each of the centres are dependent upon volunteer availability.  The Community Police Officers (CPOs) are usually out in the community and are not tied to the centres.

Q. Who is the primary point of contact for communities - the CPO or the Community Intake Coordinator?

A. The CPOs will continue to be the primary point of contact for all community members.  The role of the Community Intake Coordinator will be to respond to general queries or to provide assistance where the community member does not know their Community Police Officer.

Q. Will the Neighborhood Watch Program continue?

A. The Neighbourhood Watch Program is continuing and it has an active committee that works closely with the OPS' Business Owner, Constable Jeff Kostuch.  

Q. Will requests for OPS participation in community events go into a database?

A. Yes.  All events will be categorized and entered into a Demands for Service System (DSS) that will capture, track and assign resources to requests.  The DSS will provide valuable information to assist the OPS with assessing and identifying both proactive and reactive policing outputs that will support organizational goals.

Q. Will frontline resources spend more time on proactive policing?

A. Yes. The new Service Delivery Model has been designed to reduce the reactive components of an officer's time, while giving them more time for proactive activities.

Q. Since the OPS has a separate Diversity and Race Relations Unit, how will the unit integrate with the Community Police Centres?  

A. How the Diversity and Race Relations Unit relates to the CPCs is part of our Community Interface Strategy. Currently, the Unit works to strengthen communication between police and Indigenous, racialized, and LGBTQ communities through various initiatives such as the annual Human Rights Learning Forum, the Diversity Celebration, and monthly Community Police Action Committee (COMPAC) and GLBT Liaison Committee meetings. The section also provides diversity and human rights training to new recruits. As subject-matter experts, the section is available to and informs OPS members, including Community Police Officers, in responding to various needs within Ottawa's diverse communities.

Q. Will the same performance metrics from the past be used in the future to determine if the new initiative is successful?  

A. The OPSB and the OPS have developed a Performance Measurement Framework that has been embedded in our Business Plan.  The framework focuses on eight (8) themes:  public safety/security; crime and victimization; resource utilization; quality of life; community satisfaction; offender accountability; use of force and authority; and, member engagement. 

Q. Will the new model be measured on a consistent basis and will the results be made public? 

A. The Service's Annual Report provides many of the available metrics, and efforts are underway to continue to develop additional indicators.  The metrics are both qualitative and quantitative.   Following a short period of stabilization, an evaluation of the new Frontline Deployment Model will be undertaken.

Q. How does the new model affect schools and the School Resource Officers (SROs)? 

A. The new model enhances the abilities of SROs.  This is largely due to a new mobilization strategy, as well as a Demand for Service strategy which, combined, make it easier to mobilize front line support for the SROs.

Q. What phone number do I call to contact the police?

A. 911 remains the emergency phone number for all emergencies. 613-236-1222 is the number for all other non-emergencies.

The secondary telephone number of 613-230-6211 is being phased out for use by the general public, but is being maintained for the use of frontline emergency service partners only.  (Note:  Should a member of the public inadvertently use this number, they will be provided with assistance but will also be instructed to call the central number regarding any future requirements)

Q. How can I provide feedback?

A. Community members are encouraged to contact their Community Police Officer or to email the SI Program.