Ottawa police chief says he needs more officers to enforce new provincial powers
Ottawa’s police chief warns he doesn’t have enough police resources to enforce new powers designed to end the truck convoy protest and blockade in downtown Ottawa.
“We cannot go beyond our current capabilities unless we get new resources,” Chief Peter Sloly said at a special meeting of the Ottawa Police Services Board on Friday.
“New powers are new powers, without new resources we cannot expand and use these powers the way they were designed.”
Premier Doug Ford announced new penalties to protect infrastructure, including roads and pedestrian sidewalks. Failure to comply will now be subject to fines of up to $100,000 and up to one year in prison.
Prime Minister declared a state of emergency to give authorities more tools to stop what he called the ‘illegal occupation’ of Ottawa on Day 15 of the protest on Wellington Street and several roads downtown.
“We have enforced every law available to us, including the new powers under the civil injunction. Our ability to fully enforce it is directly proportional to our ability to have additional resources,” Sloly said.
“New powers give us new tools, but without new resources we cannot apply more than we have been able to do now.”
About 400 trucks and vehicles remain parked downtown. There were signs of increased enforcement on Friday morning, with City Services officers threatening fines for blasting loud music. They imposed a fine of $1,500 on at least one person.
On Monday, the City of Ottawa sent a request to the federal and Ontario governments for 1,700 officers and 100 additional civilians to help end the blockade downtown.
Sloly said he could not tell the council how many additional officers have been deployed to Ottawa.
“We are still working with the OPP and the RCMP to receive these resources and deploy them, that’s all we can mention at this point,” Sloly said.
On Thursday, Sloly reiterated his call for more resources to end the occupation “safer and faster”.
Speaking to reporters on Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the RCMP and OPP are working with Ottawa police for resources.
“I do not accept the assertion that the City of Ottawa has exhausted its tools and resources,” Trudeau said.
“The Ottawa Police Force has received resources from the Ontario Provincial Police and the RCMP, there are concerted efforts around planning and approaches that we will be moving forward proportionally. But I think it’s very clear that the time for these manifestations of the end has come.”
Ottawa Police Services Board Chair Diane Deans said the premier’s comments were “unfair”.
“We’ve been very clear, based on the information given to us by the police chief, about the resource requirements here, without providing specifics because they’re operational,” Deans said.
“I know we don’t have the necessary resources that we have asked for at this stage. I know the Prime Minister is under a lot of pressure at the moment, but I thought his comments this afternoon were a bit unfair. I come to think when our Chief of Police made it very clear that we need more resources; if he thinks we have enough, he should point out how that is in fact the case.”
The chief says Ottawa police still don’t have a definitive answer on what additional resources will come to Ottawa.
“We will continue to use the resources we have.”
On Thursday, Ottawa police reported 25 protest-related arrests, while more than 1,700 tickets were issued for traffic and regulatory violations, including excessive noise, use of lights fireworks and license suspension.
There are 126 active investigations underway in connection with the protest.
CITY SEEKS INJUNCTION TO STOP NOISE, IDLING
The City of Ottawa is asking the courts to stop noise, idling and fireworks in the demonstration area.
Friday, the city counsel appeared in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice seeking an injunction to remedy violations of the settlement stemming from the ongoing protests.
“This action is an effort to limit the widespread disregard seen by many involved in the protest for the rule of law and for the bylaws passed to promote the health, safety and well-being of residents and visitors” , the city said. Attorney David White.
The city is asking the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for an injunction in response to by-law violations, including the noise by-law, idling by-law, fireworks by-law, city highway encroachments, open air fires by-law, and parks and facilities by-law.
“In recent events, By-Law Services has been unable to effectively undertake its usual enforcement activities in the parts of the city most affected by the protests, due to security and operational issues. identified by the Ottawa Police Service,” White said in a memo to council. “Where enforcement has taken place, it has had no deterrent effect.”
The city hopes for a hearing on the request in the coming days.
On Wednesday, the Chief Justice of Ontario approved increased penalties for bylaw violations in the downtown area.
Fines for violations (previous fine in parentheses)
Noise By-law – $1,000 ($490)
Idling Regulations – $1,000 ($100)
Use of Road Maintenance Regulation – $1,000 ($350)
Open Air Fire Regulations – $1,000 ($100)
Ottawa Police expect the same number of vehicles and protests to descend on downtown Ottawa this weekend “expected to be within range of last weekend.”
However, Chief Sloly notes that there are other protests planned across Ontario this weekend.
“There’s a lot of information, there’s a lot of misinformation, and there’s a lot of misinformation, but we’re tracking that in real time with intelligence operations across the province and across the country,” Sloly said.
“And if we get more clarity on the numbers, we’ll make adjustments as best we can given the resources we have.”
TRUST IN THE CHIEF
The chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board says she still has faith in Chief Sloly and the Ottawa Police Service executive.
“I’m confident. What we keep hearing is that they need more help,” the adviser said. said Diane Deans.
“My job as chairman of the board is to do everything I can to provide them with the resources they need. They have worked very hard, under very stressful circumstances.”