Neighbourhood Watch Bulletin for 2021-02-25

This week’s topics and a few previous ones:

  • Seeking assistance to locate wanted fraud suspect.
  • 2020-2022 EDI Action Plan: Moving from Reports and Recommendations to Greater Action Together.
  • December 2020 recruit class most diverse in OPS history.
  • Chief Thomas G. Flanagan a true visionary about the role for women from racialized and Indigenous communities in policing.

If you’re interested in helping out, see our Neighbourhood Watch Page.

– Alex

—– Forwarded Message —–
Subject: Neighbourhood Watch Bulletin for February 25, 2021
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2021 09:11:31 -0500
From: Darren Joseph <>

Seeking assistance to locate wanted fraud suspect

The Ottawa Police Service is asking for the public’s help to locate wanted Rodney CRABTREE, 49 years old and of no fixed address, in relation to multiple fraud investigations.

Organized Fraud Unit Investigators found that the suspect meets potential victims through online dating sites or by claiming to be a contractor/developer. He then proceeds to defraud them.

Rodney CRABTREE is known to use several aliases when meeting victims:

  • Troy REILLY
  • Rodney PELLETIER
  • Rodney WALLACE
  • Rodney WILLIAM
  • Rodney TREMBLAY
  • John WALLACE

CRABTREE is described as a Caucasian man, 6’2” (188cm), large build, with light brown hair, and tattoos on both arms.

Investigators are concerned that there may be other victims and are asking anyone who may have been a victim of fraud by this man to contact them.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact the Organized Fraud Unit at 613-236-1222 ext. 5292 or via email at

Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 or at

2020-2022 EDI Action Plan: Moving from Reports and Recommendations to Greater Action Together

At the Ottawa Police Services Board meeting yesterday, the Ottawa Police Service provided an update on the 2020-2022 Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan.

The report and presentation to the Board provided an update on 2020 progress and outlined 2021 priority action items that align with the Board’s strategic direction and the approved 2021 Change Budget.

2020 was a foundational first year of the EDI Action Plan, where we worked with community stakeholders to accomplish more than 10 action items across the organization.  Some highlights include:

  • Building greater capacity for EDI with focused senior leadership sessions and a new Respect, Values and Inclusion Directorate;
  • Removing barriers in outreach recruitment that is already seeing dramatic results in diverse police applicants;
  • Reviewing the OPS competencies framework;
  • Reinstating the Hate Crime Section with dedicated resources and working closely with partners like United for All on anti-hate strategies and responses in the city;
  • Continuing to address discrimination and racial profiling concerns with new Authentic Inclusion Training, race based data collection for use of force, and partnership work with United for All;
  • Building a Wellness Team with additional staffing and program launches that focus on member wellness;
  • Initiating dialogue and partnership work to develop new programs and tools that enhance service delivery to the community including dialogue and research for improving mental health response and collaborative work to build a custom EDI Lens toolkit to remove and prevent barriers in employment and service delivery;
  • Working on improvements to the internal complaint process – including a special project to address sexual violence and harassment in the workplace that led to the recent hiring of a third party firm – Rubin Thomlinson LLP (RT) – to address complaints; and
  • Co-hosting the sixth annual Human Rights Learning Forum on December 10th that focused on understanding and addressing systemic racism.

And while much has been accomplished in this first foundational building year of the plan, we know that there is more work to be done. We will move from the important collaborative and foundational work of 2020 to implementing programs and focusing on systems and culture change in 2021.

The 2021 priority work will include:

  • Culture change strategy focused on the duty of care, community safety and well-being, and public trust.  Equity, diversity and inclusion is a fundamental over-arching approach that will drive our decision-making and change;
  • Community-led mental health response strategy;
  • Implementation of anti-racial profiling policy review results;
  • Anti-Racism training that focuses on anti-Black and Anti-Indigenous racism;
  • Implementing new tools including a custom EDI Lens toolkit for decision-making for both employment and service delivery;
  • Launching new complaint resolution process and employee empowerment for change;
  • Violence against women service and staffing enhancements including new dedicated staffing; and,
  • Member wellness program enhancements and initiatives.

“We will continue to honour the past reports and recommendations for change by continuing to focus on collaborative partnerships and collective action that lead to meaningful and measurable change,” said Supt. Isobel Granger of the Respect, Values and Inclusion Directorate. “This is about ensuring meaningful and measurable progress on equity, diversity and inclusion by creating a police service our police and community members deserve.”

The Service will work closely with stakeholders including the CEC and the Board’s Policy and Governance Committee to ensure accountability with ongoing monitoring of the implementation of the plan.

“The Service is grateful for the ongoing input and partnership work with the Community Equity Council and other stakeholders such as Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition, United for All, Equity Ottawa, and Violence against Women coalitions,” added Supt. Granger.

The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan 2020-2022 is a major deliverable of the Ottawa Police Services Board’s Strategic Plan in the priority area of: “Make meaningful progress on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.”

Further information about the EDI Action Plan and the latest progress report are available at

December 2020 recruit class most diverse in OPS history

In 2020, the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) announced priorities for the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan and one of these was a commitment to update our Outreach Recruitment processes to remove barriers and increase applications.

“The new processes and approach resulted in the quantity (400%), quality and diversity of the applicant pool,” said Human Resources Directorate Supt. Mark Patterson. “This means that the Ottawa Police is successfully recruiting qualified candidates that better reflect the community.”

The December 2020 class of 48 recruits is the most diverse class in the history of the OPS: 40% who identify as female, 6% identified as an Indigenous person, and 50% identified as a member of a racialized group. The group is highly educated with university and/or college degrees and the candidates speak over 20 different languages with 46 % speaking French. Members of this recruit class bring valuable community connections through their volunteer work with a wide range of local organizations/services.

During the past year, the OPS used multiple strategies to expand our outreach practices:

  • a no-cost application process to remove financial barriers for applicants;
  • a physical testing process that ensures applicants can meet the standards from the Ontario Police College;
  • the background check practices were revised with a focus on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion;
  • a self-reporting feature was added to the application process – per our commitment to inclusiveness – to provide applicants with the opportunity to voluntarily disclose individual characteristics including, but not limited to, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation;
  • the Outreach Team continued to conduct virtual information sessions with potential applicants through online platforms and engaged the community by leveraging social media tools;
  • an ongoing mentorship program that pairs potential recruits, particularly those from traditionally marginalized communities, with veteran officers to guide them through the application process; and
  • a Community Champion mentor program involving diverse community leaders and members of the Community Equity Council (CEC) that help the Outreach Team identify suitable prospects in their respective communities and mentor the candidates through the hiring process.

With these results, the Service is receiving queries from various federal, municipal and international police services who are interested in our innovative best practices.

We are recruiting!  The next information session will be hosted on March 10th.  You can learn more about the process by visiting Sworn Officer Portal.

Applicants can contact the Outreach and Recruitment Section between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. (EST), Monday to Friday at 613-236-1222, ext. 5505 or by e-mail at

For more information, please consult the Workforce Management Report – 4th Quarter per the Ottawa Police Services Board February 22nd Meeting Agenda.

Chief Thomas G. Flanagan a true visionary about the role for women from racialized and Indigenous communities in policing

Thomas G. Flanagan, who served with the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) from 1951 to 1993, five of which were as Chief of Police, recognized the need to attract women from racialized or Indigenous communities to choose a career in policing.

His grandson, Avery Flanagan, a Sergeant with OPS, calls his grandfather his hero and he remembers being told, as a teenager, about the changes his grandfather said were needed.

“I’m third generation police officer in my family,” says Avery, whose three uncles also worked at OPS. One of them, Inspector Pat Flanagan, still does.

“My grandfather said a shift needed to happen, that a police service has to be inclusive in order to serve everyone in the community. I didn’t realize it at the time, but he was a true visionary. We’re still having this conversation almost 30 years later.”

In 1993, Chief Flanagan started a scholarship for women from Indigenous or racialized communities pursuing an education in a law enforcement-related field.

The first recipient of the scholarship was Debbie Miller. She grew up in Ottawa in Community Housing.

“Policing wasn’t a career I was considering,” Debbie recalls, “instead, policing found me.”

While attending Carleton University, she was looking for a summer job when she came across a job posting by the National Capital Alliance on Race Relations (NCARR), who was helping racialized community members get opportunities in policing.

“The job exposed me to policing from another perspective. I was intrigued with what I saw and realized that I had many of the skills needed to be a successful officer. What stood out however, was that there was nobody that looked like me within the service”.

Debbie worked as a civilian with OPS before becoming one of the first five black women hired as police officers in 1994.

“Coming into a male dominated profession as a woman was daunting, even more so as a Black woman. Not only did I have to deal with being a woman, I had to fit into an institution that never had anyone that looked like me in the role of an officer.  Unlike my white female colleagues who already existed in this organization, I was breaking new ground and had to somehow find my place in the OPS”.

Debbie quickly saw how her background and colour were a strength. “There are a lot of trust issues between police and the black community,” she says. “When you are part of the community you’re serving, they see someone familiar they can relate to.”

“When you reflect the community you are serving, it helps to ease fear, build trust and allow for honest conversations.”

Although numbers are still low for women from racially diverse backgrounds, women are represented in different positions and ranks within the police service. It shows that the work to remove systemic barriers is in progress, however it is important to continue the work so the OPS can truly reflect the Ottawa community.

Over the span of her 27-year career, she has faced challenges, but there’s also been opportunity for her to build relationships and break down barriers, within the organization and in the community.

“Today, we see women of different ethnicities holding different positions and ranks within the police service. It shows we’re removing barriers that have existed for hiring and promotions and women from racialized backgrounds can see themselves having a career here.”

Debbie is the second-highest ranking black female officer within OPS. As an Inspector, she is proud of the work she has done to pave the way for racialized women joining policing today.

“I am proud to be a police officer. I’m grateful to the late Chief Thomas Flanagan for being a visionary and recognizing the importance of having racialized women as part of the OPS. My message to other racialized and Indigenous women: ‘we have a uniform waiting for you too’.”

One such person hoping to have a career with OPS is Cornelia Gillespie-Joseph, one of the two 2020 recipients of the Thomas G Flanagan S.C scholarship.

Like Debbie, Cornelia never considered a job in policing. “There were a lot of preconceived notions about police passed down from childhood influences, including family, friends and the media.”

At 5 ft 2 inches (157 cm ) tall and 120 pounds (54 kg), she thought she was too small to be a police officer.

But after spending a summer in the Youth In Policing Initiative where she saw first-hand how officers do their jobs, she realized there’s so much more to policing than your size.

“I have an opportunity to change things for the better between police and racialized communities,” says Cornelia. “When I look at the OPS today, I see myself. There’s a lot of diversity.”

Cornelia graduated from Police Foundation studies at Algonquin College in 2020. She plans to put the scholarship towards her undergraduate degree in Human Rights and Social justice, with the goal of becoming a police officer.

“I look forward to helping youth,” she says. “I think my life experiences enable me to relate to what they are going through and give them advice to help them make good decisions.”

For more information about the 2021 Thomas G. Flanagan S.C. $2000. scholarship award go to

To learn more about the hiring process, go to

Contact Cst. Darren Joseph directly (west of O-Train, Line 2) at or 613-236-1222, ext. 5871.

Contact Cst. Stephanie Lemieux directly (east of O-Train, Line 2) at or 613-236-1222, ext. 5287.