February 4, 2015
An Ottawa police cruiser is seen with its lights flashing in this file photo.
The Ottawa Police Service’s plan to hire 75 new members over three years is “overdue,” according to the police association president.
Recruiting won’t start for another year.
Starting in 2016, the police services will be looking to hire 25 new members every year for three years, according to a draft of the Ottawa Police Service board budget tabled on Wednesday.
Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau said they made a “very conscious decision” to maintain staffing levels in 2015. The OPS is also looking to save on $2 million in the budget, which is difficult, said Bordeleau.
“It’s a challenge, there’s no question,” he said. “It’s getting harder and harder to do. But, you know, the men and women of the police service are always looking at new ways of introducing technology, leveraging technologies and looking at different ways of delivering that service.”
The three-year hiring plan is a promising start, said Matt Skof, president of the Ottawa Police Association (OPA), who says the OPS is short 120 officers.
“It’s unfortunate that they didn’t see the need for it in 2015, however, the chief has made it clear that they’re looking for the service initiative to find efficiencies prior to making any recommendations for staffing,” he said. “Our position is always going to be that we’re still well understaffed.”
The police tax rate increase is 1.75 per cent, which equals paying an additional $11 a year in tax for the average homeowner. With the staffing increases, that’s expected to rise up from 2.6 to 2.8 per cent.
There will be police budget consultations Feb. 9-12 in different wards.
The budget must go to city council for final approval on March 11.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre