Community Policing - a Shared Responsibility: Final Project Report And Evaluation

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By: Sulaimon Giwa
Org: South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre
Date: 2008

This report describes the outcomes of a multi-year project race relations project in Ottawa and presents its analysis.


During the period 2006-2008, the South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre (SEOCHC), in collaboration with local community agencies, one academic institution, as well as the Ottawa Police Service, collaborated on a federally funded race relations project entitled Community Policing - A Shared Responsibility.

This effort was initiated in response to two, highly publicized, racial profiling incidents in 2004 that involved the local police service and members of the Black community in the City of Ottawa. The project focused on fostering relationship building among Ottawa’s multicultural communities and the Ottawa Police Service (OPS). It worked to improve current public perceptions regarding race relations and to address allegations of police discrimination, public disillusionment with the police services, and poor policing accountability. This was achieved through dismantling common stereotypes, increasing community understanding of the police services’ structures and complaints procedures, and increasing accountability for police actions. Additionally, the project contributed to empowerment and power sharing both within and between the OPS and the community.

This project sought to improve relationships among the police and communities of colour. As well, it contributed to the ongoing efforts to address issues related to racism and racial profiling in policing. The attached report provides a comprehensive review of the project from conception to implementation and evaluation.

Phase I of the project was a day long conference on racism and racial profiling.

Phase II included two activities:

  • a workshop on the use of mediation in public complaints against the police. 90% of the participants agreed that post-workshop "I now have enough information to help community members access the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) Complaints Process competently."
  • a dialogue between front-line police officers and youth of colour. The dialogue resulted in the creation of a list of what youth and police would do differently "in a relationship of trust." The dialogue revealed that the youth and police have different understandings of what the problems are in youth/police interactions. The youth want the problem of racial profiling within policing in Ottawa acknowledged and eliminated. The police officers indicated that they treat all youth in the same manner and that perceptions of unfair treatment are based on a lack of understanding of the "realities of policing."

During Phase III of the project, the Committee undertook a project evaluation that encompassed both how well Committee members worked together (process evaluation), and how much progress was made in achieving the project goals (outcome evaluation).

The report is divided into eight chapters, as follows:

  • Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the issues the project addressed, and establishes the context and rationale for the projects’ implementation.
  • Chapter 2 addresses a series of questions the Department of Canadian Heritage, Multiculturalism Program has identified as part of the grants and contributions process.
  • Chapters 3, 4, and 5 present a detailed documentation of the first two phases of the project and their corresponding activities.
  • Chapter 6 outlines youths' recommendations that emerged from the Police/Youth Dialogue, and were tabled to the Chief of Police, the Police Executive Services Team and the Ottawa Police Services Board.
  • Chapter 7, the third and final phase, discusses the Committee’s evaluation of the project.
  • Chapter 8 reflects on the outcomes of the project and provides concluding remarks.
  • The report concludes with a number of important documents that were generated during the project that appear in Appendices I - X.

Conclusions and Learning

Project results were measured using a Community Mobilization Scorecard, which provides indicators for three processes that contribute to effective community mobilization: (1) heightened sense of community, (2) enhanced mobilization capacity, and (3) increased readiness for focused action.

Evaluation of the project outcomes generally indicated that the project provided an invaluable opportunity for learning. The successes of the project were more modest than the group had originally hoped, perhaps because the goals were overly ambitious. Committee members noted that the group had hoped the project would result in systemic and cultural changes within the OPS and the community. Such changes were not completely achieved, and, they thought, were not achievable with the limited resources available to the project.

However, while the project did not fully meet its goals, a number of significant outcomes were achieved. Among the participating ethno-racial minority communities, there is now knowledge of the existence of a complaints process within the OPS and an understanding of the ways it can be accessed by community members. In addition, the Police/Youth Dialogue holds promise as an activity that provides a unique opportunity for youth of colour to represent themselves, their needs, and their interests directly to the OPS. The Committee hopes to build on the dialogue model developed from this event for future activities.

Download Community Policing - a Shared Responsibility: Final Project Report And Evaluation in PDF format.