New Neighbourhood Resource Teams announced for Ottawa in 2020
The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) will launch three new Neighbourhood Resource Teams (NRT) in 2020, as announced today by Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly.
Neighbourhood policing will be the cornerstone of the OPS’ overall community policing strategy, OPS says. The NRTs will be the central component of OPS’ strategy to “increase community-based policing, prevent and reduce firearm violence along with other associated violent street crimes in Ottawa.”
The three teams will be located in the ByWard Market/Lowertown in May, and Centretown and Bayshore in the fall of 2020, using existing resources approved in the OPS Budget.
These teams will add to the current NRTs located in Vanier/Overbrook, Heron Gate/South Ottawa and Carlington/Caldwell that were deployed in 2019. These neighbourhoods were selected due to an increased volume of crime (including gun, gang and drug related violent street crime), the presence of complex social issues that underpin most crime (housing, employment, education, health, marginalization, discrimination, etc.) and a high number of calls for police service.
The NRT officers will be dedicated exclusively to their assigned neighbourhoods for a minimum of two years, where they will work in an “integrated and co-ordinated way with local community residents and partners, not-for-profit organizations, business associations and city staff to assess and address crime, social disorder and their underlying socio-economic issues.”
The NRTs are composed of experienced officers, OPS says, with the personal and professional maturity to manage complex crime and socio-economic issues affecting their assigned neighbourhood.
The officers will have proven foundational policing skills for crime prevention, order management, emergency response and law enforcement – they will also receive specialized training and development including: problem solving, conflict mediation, effective communication, (inter)cultural competency.
The NRTs will be dedicated to a single neighbourhood for multi-year assignments – each NRT will also be allotted an appropriate dedicated complement of School Resource Officers (SRO), Community Police Officers (CPO) and Traffic officers.
“The NRTs are the centrepiece of the OPS neighbourhood policing strategy. We are putting them in place in the communities that need the help the most,” Sloly says. “Since October, I have been talking with and listening to the community, the Ottawa Police Association (OPA), the Senior Officers’ Association (SOA), academics, city councillors, Community Equity Council, police/justice leaders, the Ottawa Police Services Board (OPSB), frontline members, along with my executive and senior leadership team members. Reinvesting in neighbourhood policing has been a clear priority in all of those conversations.”
This is also in line with the Ottawa Police Services Board’s 2019-2020 Strategic Direction, OPS notes.
While investments into Neighbourhood Resource Teams (NRTs) have started to see a positive response in dealing with street crime and violence, a “whole-of-Ottawa” approach is needed that will focus on building a stronger and safer city.
Investigative units have targeted high offenders in areas of violent crime resulting in a number of arrests and guns seized. In 2019, Ottawa saw a reduction of the number of shootings from 78 to 73, and a total of 13 homicides (five of which were gun-related), down from 16 in 2018. Additionally, 70 crime guns were seized by police in 2019, up from 68 in 2018. This year, police have already seized eight crime guns.
Chief Sloly and his executive command have been reviewing the current approach to preventing and reducing firearms violence and street crime in Ottawa. These efforts will be increased as OPS incorporates a new Crime Disorder Management Process. It is a new response model intended to support victims and communities by addressing heightened fear and anxiety within the immediate aftermath of violent crimes. This process will assist OPS in developing a more dynamic approach to crime reduction, quality-of-life improvements, and personnel and resource management. It will provide command officers immediate access to operational information city-wide to be better able to use trend analysis and predictive tools for measurement and more informed decision-making practices.
“We are looking at improving existing systems to provide the foundation for more action on violent crime,” Sloly says. “This will ensure that frontline officers have the most up-to-date information and resources available on every call.
“Our investigations are focused on violent repeat offenders who are victimizing the most vulnerable populations and marginalized neighbourhoods. They will be supported by a new immediate response action strategy that will include a 24- to 72-hour post-incident deployment of uniformed who will work with stakeholders in the areas impacted by the violence to ensure the proper outreach, crime suppression, investigations and victim services are provided.”
More information about this initiative will be released to the OPSB at its January meeting.