Archive for the ‘Police’ Category

More Heat On Rising Police Costs

- April 21st, 2014

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario will try tackling the escalating cost of police services.

Ottawa police recently stopped overnight hours for its desk at headquarters on Elgin St.

AMO announced earlier this month it’s striking a task force on “police modernization” to inform a provincial study by a future of policing advisory committee.

The committee’s work seems to involve a wide examination of police services in Ontario, but AMO’s interest, no doubt, is keeping costs down.

This will resonate in Ottawa where police board chairman Eli El-Chantiry and Mayor Jim Watson have called for changes to the province’s arbitration system.

Salaries are the biggest cost driver, but there are issues beyond arbitrated contracts fuelling increased police costs.

There have been some interesting developments recently in Ottawa with the police force finding ways to save money.

Crime reporter Danielle Bell wrote about the future of community police centres and managers debating if the offices are still worth the resources.

Starting last Tuesday the police force cut back on the hours of its front desk at Elgin St. headquarters. Instead of being available 24/7, the desk now opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. each day.

There has also been some discussion about how police deploy resources to manage traffic as part of the force’s ongoing service review.

We might learn more about big changes in the police force as the year goes on. The service review is expected to bring efficiencies starting in 2015. The force needs to find $1 million in savings annually between 2015 and 2017 to meet its financial forecasts. Still, the police budget is projected to increase by $10 million in 2015, taking into account a 2.5% tax hike.

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.

Police Salary Increases In Southern Ontario Arbitration

- March 14th, 2013

Another Ontario police force has an arbitrated settlement and it’s worth noting since the Ottawa Police Services Board and the Ottawa Police Association are waiting for a decision on their own contract.

An arbitrator has awarded Waterloo Regional police officers increases of 2.7% in each of 2012 and 2013 and 2.95% in 2014, according to The Record.

Those percentage increases are what police managers and politicians keep a close eye on across the province.

Ottawa is trying to keep its police salary increases to 2.5% annually. Officials on the management side are anxious to get the decision since it was expected a couple of weeks ago. I recently tried reaching the arbitrator to find out what’s taking so long but didn’t receive a response to a voice message or e-mail.

Senior officers in Ottawa negotiated a new contract with the police board. In that deal, it appears the board was successful front-loading the increases (four-year deal with annual increases of 3% in first two years and 2% in last two years) so the next negotiations begin where the final year leaves off at 2%.

Harder Fired Up Over Copper Thefts

- December 18th, 2012

Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder was fired up today about a recent copper theft at a park in her ward.

She said the city lost about $70,000 in copper wiring between thefts at Lytle Park and a snow dump on Strandherd Dr.

Harder said the wiring at the park was torn up from under the lights.

I got the impression she wants police talking more about the theft and making sure residents are vigilant. She’s a member of the police services board, so I assume her advice holds a bit of weight around the cop shop’s executive offices.

If people see shady behaviour, “make the call,” Harder said.

Of course, this kind of crime isn’t unique around the national capital.

If you know something about the Barrhaven thefts, call 613-236-1222, ext. 7300.

City Going After Province On Arbitration Reform

- September 20th, 2012

The city is really turning the screws on the province when it comes to arbitration reform.

West Carleton-March Coun. Eli El-Chantiry, the head of the police board, is virtually screaming for changes as he sees police salary increases rise across the province. It only takes one or two police services to give substantial salary increases to give arbitrators a reason to match.

The province’s arbitration system was one of the key points during the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in Ottawa last month. El-Chantiry and Knoxdale-Merivale Coun. Keith Egli (a lawyer by trade who specializes in labour and mediation) met with Labour Minister Linda Jeffrey.

And now, Mayor Jim Watson has followed up with a letter to Jeffrey calling for “structural changes” to the arbitration system for emergency services.

Then there’s this recommendation to the police board to write to Premier Dalton McGuinty, Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur, PC Leader Tim Hudak and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath to essentially keep the OPP contract costs down. If the OPP sign a big collective agreement, it would trickle down to Ontario municipalities.

It seems the province is getting closer to make some kind of change to the arbitration system. The Tories have a bill and the Liberals will have their own proposal. They’re both on the same page with wanting to do something, but we’re left to see if they can find common ground.

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com

Blais Calls For What Crime Prevention Ottawa Should Offer

- July 27th, 2012

Cumberland Coun. Stephen Blais wants the city to have a crime prevention strategy on guns in Ottawa.

Says Blais: “Presently, there is no single strategy from which city programs, not for profit organizations and the Ottawa Police Service are working.  Moreover, there is no group responsible for implementing the strategy or measuring its effectiveness.”

I don’t know if the debate will go down this road, but Blais would be absolutely aware the city has an organization designed to do exactly what he’s proposing: Crime Prevention Ottawa.

Which, then, will likely cause people to question why CPO isn’t dipping into the guns issue.

CPO has struggled with how it should use its advocacy resources — so much so that it recently hired a consultant to help figure out, in part, how it could raise its profile.

Full disclosure here: I agreed to be interviewed by the consultant June 20 to get my opinion, since I try to keep tabs on what CPO is up to.

What I told the consultant was CPO needs to jump on issues du jour. Today’s issue is gun crime.

CPO has done some great work cleaning up Vanier and speaking out against sexual assault. Recently it held an event where hospital officials released data on violence and trauma.

However, there’s this feeling the organization isn’t nimble enough to respond to an emerging narrative.

We’ll check in with Stittsville Coun. Shad Qadri today to see what he thinks about all this, particularly Blais’ statements. Qadri is the chairman of CPO.