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Photo radar and red light cameras catch dozens of Ottawa police officers in first 3 months of 2024

The photo radar camera on St. Laurent Boulevard, between Noranda Avenue and Clarke Avenue, issued 26,428 tickets in 2023. (Katie Griffin/CTV News Ottawa) The photo radar camera on St. Laurent Boulevard, between Noranda Avenue and Clarke Avenue, issued 26,428 tickets in 2023. (Katie Griffin/CTV News Ottawa)
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Photo radar and red light cameras caught dozens of Ottawa police officers in the first three months of the year, as police see a rise in driving-related complaints about their officers.

A report for the Ottawa Police Services Board shows there were 112 driving-related complaints involving officers in the first three months of the year, compared to 78 driving-related complaints in the first quarter of 2023.

Officers received 75 tickets for speeding through the automated enforcement camera program and 12 tickets for running red lights from red light cameras in the January to March period.  There have also been 25 internal complaints related to collisions involving Ottawa police officers this year, according to the report.

An internal complaint is launched when a red light camera or photo radar ticket is issued to the Ottawa Police Service.

For the full year in 2023, there were 187 internal complaints related to photo radar camera tickets and 82 complaints linked to red light camera infractions. In 2022, there were 79 red light camera and 189 photo radar camera violations involving police officers.

The rise in internal complaints related to photo radar and red light camera infractions comes as the city of Ottawa continues to expand the automated speed enforcement camera program, with plans for up to 60 cameras by the end of the year.

An internal complaint is initiated at the discretion of the chief of the Ottawa Police Service for allegations of misconduct or non-compliance, and may include driving-related matters.

"In 2021, the OPS updated its process to deal with driving-related complaints including a robust progressive discipline schedule," the report says.

Chief Eric Stubbs told reporters last year that Ottawa police have a "triage sort of process" to understand what the officer was doing at the time of the photo radar or red light camera infraction, and then a "determination is made on what path to go from that conclusion."  An officer is responsible for paying the fine if warranted.

Ottawa police told CTV News Ottawa in February that 85 tickets issued to officers by photo radar cameras in 2023 involved an officer on a call for service, while 62 tickets for red light camera infractions were issued to officers responding to a call.

The report shows there were 199 conducted related complaints about officers in the first quarter of 2024, up from 168 internal complaints during the same period last year. Driving related complaints made up the majority of the internal complaints, followed by 60 complaints for improper conduct and 17 for neglect of duty.

Staff say of the 82 complaints received by the public in the first three months of the year, 29 were referred to the OPS Professional Standards Unit for investigation.

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