A Robust Budget For Police Essential in Keeping Our Communities Safe

By David Brown, Rideau-Jock Councillor

In an ever-growing city like Ottawa, there are many emerging challenges. The City must tackle these issues by consistently reevaluating how services are delivered to meet the changing demand. Whether it be a concern for adequate housing, good public administration, an efficient transportation network, or the expansion of public spaces, there is one problem which I hear about commonly: community safety and order.

Many residents often reach out to request that I dispatch police to a problematic road to enforce speed limits or ask that I tell the police to patrol an area more actively where concerns about crime and mischief have been identified. Many also express concerns about how by-law has managed an issue and ask that I direct by-law officers to address a problem differently.

I share the desire of our communities to have public safety and order maintained. However, it is important to remember that, under Provincial law, municipal Councillors cannot direct the operations of Ottawa police or by-law officers. We are expressly prohibited from providing direction to prevent political influence over the enforcement of laws and by-laws.

So how can elected officials such as myself work to improve safety in our communities? The best way for Councillors to make a difference is by advocating on key files and problematic patterns through information sharing. While I cannot tell police or by-law how to enforce the law, I do help bring concerns raised by residents to the attention of the relevant authorities.

For instance, my office and I have been working to advocate for more dedicated law enforcement resources in rural Ottawa. I had a productive meeting with the Ottawa Police earlier this year to identify the main challenges that face Ward 21 residents and to discuss strategies to address these issues. Through my interactions with the Ottawa Police, I am growing in confidence that the OPS is coming to better appreciate and respond to the unique challenges in rural communities.

At the time of writing this article, I expect to receive an update from the Ottawa Police about the improved changes to their service delivery structure. This change will have more of a regional focus with the switch to a district-style policing model.

Additionally, Councillors can vote in favour of a more robust budget for police – something that I will always strongly support to keep our communities safe.

Residents can help contribute to community safety as well. If you see an issue, report it through official channels. Every time someone files a non-emergency police or by-law report or dials 9-1-1 or 3-1-1, it is documented. Data around reporting is very valuable as it determines how law enforcement resources are allocated throughout the city.

In the most serious emergencies, please dial 9-1-1. Reports for non-emergency issues can be made to the Ottawa Police Reporting Unit by calling (613) 236-1222, extension 7300, seven days a week from 10:00 am to 8:45 pm or online at By-law reports and requests can be filed by calling 3-1-1 or online at

Residents who have strong feelings or concerns about law and by-law enforcement, particularly in rural Ottawa, should share their thoughts by completing the Rural Summit survey, which you can find at