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Sutcliffe would increase police budget, open station in ByWard Market

Mark Sutcliffe would hire more police officers, open a new station in the ByWard Market and push to install CCTV cameras in an effort to deter crime, the mayoral candidate said Thursday.

“I'm not going to cut police services when people are worried about crime and safety,” he told CTV News on Thursday ahead of announcing his platform on policing. “The police budget needs to grow, not shrink.”

Sutcliffe’s plan includes opening a community resource centre in the ByWard Market and adding 100 more positions over four years to address violence against women, hate and bias crime, and gun violence.

"The police budget has shrunk as a percentage of the city budget over the last few years. the city is growing, we are not going to be able to keep the city safe, with the police budget frozen,” he said.

He is also specifically targeting Coun. Catherine McKenney, calling them “radical change” and a supporter of defunding the police.

“I think it’s a choice between me and Catherine McKenney in this election,” he said. “Catherine is a supporter of defunding the police, now they're backing away from that because they know they can't get elected that way.”

In a statement to CTV News, McKenney suggested their focus as mayor would be to rebuild the public's trust in police following the 'Freedom Convoy' occupation earlier this year.

"Everyone in our city needs to have confidence in our police's ability to keep us safe," they said. "As mayor, I will work with the new Police Chief to get us there. After a year of unprecedented tumult in our city during the convoy, we need to do the hard work of rebuilding trust and reassessing priorities."

"When the City of Ottawa invests hundreds of millions per year in any area, citizens want to see clear evidence that those funds are being spent sensibly.”

McKenney also called on the city's Police Services Board hold off on hiring a new Ottawa police chief until after the Oct. 24 election. The board is currently undertaking a search for Ottawa’s new top cop.

“This is a time for renewal for the City and for the Police,” they wrote in a letter to the Police Services Board. “I ask that you allow the new Council and new PSB to choose the Chief who will lead that renewal."

The police services board came under scrutiny during the 'Freedom Convoy' protests, when the city's former police chief Peter Sloly resigned during the three-week occupation of the city's downtown core. Many of its members resigned during and after the protest.

Along with the mini police station in the ByWard Market, Sutcliffe says he supports the “target, limited use” of CCTV cameras in at-risk areas for “investigative and deterrence purposes.” In 2019, Mayor Jim Watson asked city staff to study the effectiveness of such cameras after a string of shootings in the Market.

Sutcliffe is also pledging to strike a task force within 30 days of taking office to seek recommendations on dealing with mental illness and substance abuse.

He says he would hire more paramedics with funding from the province, tackle homelessness by move away from emergency shelters in favour of supportive housing, and expand the city’s anti-racism strategy. Top Stories

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