The Ottawa Police Service Board (OPSB) has approved a two per cent budget increase for 2022; a slight decrease from the 2.86 per cent proposed in the draft budget.
The OPSB meeting resumed Tuesday, November 23, following downtown protests where demonstrators called for the budget to be frozen.
City Councillor Rawlson King put forward a motion for a budget decrease, saying that while funds would still go toward police services, more funding is needed for mental health and well being services in communities.
King's motion, which was voted on unanimously by the board, aimed to cut nearly $2.65-million from the police budget, leaving the OPS with a nearly $11-million increase.
Chief Peter Sloly believes, however, that more commitment will still be needed.
"This is the most complicated period of policing in this city, [and] this is the most complicated and comprehensive budgeting process that this city has ever been through," said the chief. "It will require a high level of commitment between the board, the services, and the city, to come close to achieving the heart of this motion."
Sloly says the police service experienced budget cuts about a decade ago, and it had a negative impact on the service.
"If we make the same mistake the last time, which was just a cut, and we don't build the commitment to co-produce something better, this will end up being just that -- a cut," said Chief Sloly. "That will hurt those that need it most, which are most from the BIPOC community."
Board Chair Diane Deans is looking forward to the improvements that this budget will bring, and credits the board for continuously pushing for change.
"This is a board that is committed to change and to doing things differently," said Deans.
She doesn't think the focus of the budget should just be about the cuts.
"This is about building a better more responsive, more respected, more trusted police service in our community, that is part of broader community safety and well-being plan."
The budget will go before city council on December 8.