An Ottawa Police booklet on ethics cost taxpayers more than $6,700 – and one officer told the Sun many copies went straight into the trash.
Cops want to see ethics in the workplace, not read about the topic, said the officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
The service ordered 2,500 copies and a digital version from a local company in 2011 for $6,734.80, under then-chief Vern White.
The glossy, bilingual 56-page booklets — with forewords from White and police services board chairman Eli El-Chantiry — were distributed to around 1,900 uniformed and civilian employees over the last two years.
“Do I think they all read through it? I’m confident, I think, that the majority, if not all of them, would’ve taken some time to at least glance through it,” said Deputy Chief Ed Keeley.
Others, he said, would read it “from cover to cover.”
The booklet captures the fundamentals of “what we’re trying to accomplish in policing,” namely professionalism and public trust, Keeley said.
“I still have the book in my desk,” said Keeley. “I know many others still have it available to them.”
While he’s heard “nothing but positive feedback,” Keeley said he’s not naive.
“It’s not to suggest amongst the 2,000 members that there aren’t some that aren’t necessarily going to buy into the program just by the, you know, the very nature of providing them with this book,” said Keeley.
Ottawa Police Association president Matt Skof said “if the members don’t believe decisions are being made ethically, that’s the problem,” not the booklet itself. “That’s the challenge that the executive has … you want your leaders to act a certain way,” and front-line officers will follow, Skof continued.
“Ethics and leadership go hand in hand.”
The booklet is a small component of the OPS ethics program, said Sgt. Peter Danyluk.
“There’s no way to gauge” how many employees read the book, Danyluk said, noting less than 500 copies remain, mainly for new hires.
The books work out to $2 per unit before tax.
Front-line cops told the Sun they want ethics to apply by holding senior officers accountable for their actions and errors in judgment.
Cops held their annual “ethics week”, as part of Police Week, on May 13-14.