Ottawa police looking to replicate success of Toronto mental health pilot project

Canada Global (Web News) As critics decry a $15 million increase to the city’s policing budget, Ottawa police have pledged to alter how they respond to mental health concerns.

On Wednesday, council passed the $402.1 million budget. According to police, the additional funds would be used to hire 25 cops, develop a body-camera project, and plan out upcoming protests.

Yet, some city council members believe that responding to mental health calls should be a top priority and that there should be a means to route 911 crisis calls to cops and crisis support personnel who are more qualified.

According to the chief of Ottawa police, the department is already starting to restructure the dispatch centre to better accommodate persons who are experiencing crises while also evaluating the performance of a mental health pilot project in Toronto.

Eric Stubbs asserts that he is entirely in favour of improving the Ottawa police’s responsiveness to calls about mental health and that dispatchers are currently receiving training.

The general manager of community and social services for the city reports that her team is currently investigating how to reroute 911 calls to more suitable emergency services.

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