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Ottawa police miss officer hiring target for 2023

Ottawa Police headquarters on Elgin St. is seen in this undated photo. (CTV News Ottawa) Ottawa Police headquarters on Elgin St. is seen in this undated photo. (CTV News Ottawa)

The Ottawa Police Service missed its hiring targets in 2023, mainly due to a shortage of available seats at the Ontario Police College in Aylmer, Ont., according to a new report.

Police identified a need to hire 107 sworn officers in 2023 to accommodate growth, retirements and resignations. A report for Monday's Ottawa Police Services Board meeting says police only hired 87 new officers in 2023, with 38 hired in the final quarter of the year.

Staff say the Ontario Police College set the class seat number for Ottawa police at 31 for each of the three sessions last year, and reduced its second class to 23.

"As a result, we finished the year with 87 hires, 20 short of the original plan," staff say. "The limitation to our hiring is largely the result of the shortage of seats provided by OPC and not our internal ability to hire. We will continue to speak with the OPC regarding our seat allotment going forward."

The Ottawa police forecast assumed there would be 40 retirements and 20 resignations in 2023, but police say the actual resignations were lower than forecast.

"This allowed the OPS to remain at planned headcount levels at year end, even though we were short of our initial hiring plan," the report says.

Police plan to hire 138 new officers in 2024, including 25 new full-time officer positions this year. Last August, the service presented a plan to hire 145 officers a year over three years to cover attrition and expand resources for special events, traffic, cybercrime, neighbourhood resource teams and other policing needs.

As of this week, police have not received the schedule for the seat allotment at the Ontario Police College for this year.

"This hiring plan is based on the four pillars identified in the Staff Stabilization Plan that will see the service hire for regular attrition, members off on long term absences, new strategic growth positions, and grant funded positions for event response," staff say. "The hiring requirements will include direct entry classes, but that magnitude won’t be known fully until the seat allotment from the OPC is provided."

The Ontario Police College typically holds three training sessions per year with new recruits, but the report notes there will be four classes for 2024. It takes nine months, on average, for a new recruit to become deployable, while an experienced officer from another police service takes one to two months to become ready for duty.

The report shows the Ottawa Police Service was authorized to have 1,487 sworn officers in 2023, with 1,371 active sworn members at the end of the year. Staff say 140 positions were not staffed due to long-term absences. Top Stories

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