Deans also ordered police to update the board quarterly on the “nature and the number of suspensions at the service in the interest of transparency, openness and accountability.”
As reported by this newspaper earlier this month, Ottawa police will no longer routinely tell police officers when fellow cops are suspended from duty, saying the decision to release that information will be made on a case-by-case basis. The service will also no longer confirm all suspensions to this newspaper.
The revelation came in a broader interview in which police explained the criteria and rationale for suspending officers with pay and why that is not, in the service’s eyes, a punishment that would require revealing all the officers’ identities. Those questions came after a Citizen investigation last year that revealed that there is no public accounting of suspended officers’ identities and the reasons for their suspensions.
According to the report to the board, police will only confirm suspensions to media when charges are laid or if there is a “compelling public interest to do so.”
The change in who’s informed about suspensions both internally and externally was revealed just one day after the service suspended its third officer in 2021 without notifying members of the service.
In the span of one month, Ottawa police suspended three police officers and didn’t release their names to the force’s membership. It would have been considered a departure from practice, except now police say they changed the practice in February without telling officers, their police union or even the police services board before doing so.
This content was originally published here.