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Ottawa police reinvesting school officer program funds into neighbourhood policing

The police service will be creating a new youth strategy that will still use the same officers as the SRO program, just deployed more broadly than in and around schools.
Ottawa police hat1
The hat of an Ottawa Police Service officer.

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) is ending its school resource officer (SRO) program after one of the city's four school boards took steps to end the partnership last week.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) voted to end the SRO program within its schools on Thursday, June 24  and in response, OPS has ended the program all together, since roughly 50 per cent of the program goes to that board.

According to Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly, the service will be reinvesting funding from the SRO program into other priority areas, such as neighbourhood policing.

"We still have unresolved demands on this police service," Sloly explained. "We now have the opportunity to redeploy some of those resources into those areas that we have demands that we committed to in last year's budget."

Sloly adds, the OPS still has a commitment to the city's youth to provide services that will prevent them from getting into trouble, while also advancing overall well being. This is being done through the creation of a new youth strategy that will still use the same officers as the SRO program, just deployed more broadly than in and around schools.

However, the police chief does feel overall the program does have its benefits.

"Like any problem as large as one that spreads across four boards, a million people in urban, rural and suburban neighbourhoods across the city, it will be an imperfect one," Sloly said. "There's no doubt there have been challenges and there have been disappointments but overall, it's a healthy program that has served OCDSB and the other three boards extremely well."

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