1 min

Heyerhoff takes over as head of Hate Crimes

Experienced Sgt. to direct the unit

Credit: Rob Thomas

There’s a new man in charge of the Ottawa Police Service’s Hate Crime Unit.

Sgt Ralph Heyerhoff, a 26-year veteran with the force, takes over immediately from Sgt Murray Knowles, who has moved to Firearms Control.

All of Heyerhoff’s experience in policing, since he started walking a beat, has been with the Ottawa force.

“I have been very lucky to have had the opportunity to work in many different sections within the service. The majority of my career has been centered around criminal investigations and intelligence. I have also spent several years in sexual assault and child abuse as an investigator,” says Heyerhoff.

“I think that experience will serve me well in my present job because of the specialized training, as well as being exposed to victims who were physically and mentally traumatized.”

Heyerhoff says it’s not just about catching bad guys anymore, it’s about how he can help victims move on from a horrible event.

Heyerhoff has also worked in the behavioural sciences section, supervising the tracking of violent sexual predators and serial murderers.

“I am hoping to get back to the grassroots of everyday issues concerning our communities,” says Heyerhoff. “We are much more diverse and aware of social issues. It’s not just about cops and robbers anymore. Police officers today must be more alert to social and political patterns and trends and how they impact on crime.”

Part of Heyerhoff’s duties will be to work with the Police Liaison Committee for the GLBT communities, something he says he is looking forward to.

“I am still learning about the community and I am hoping to make a meaningful contribution in terms of what is expected and what I can provide,” he says. “As for bringing anything new to the committee, that will be difficult because the Hate Crime Unit and the committee have been around for over 10 years and I don’t believe in re-inventing the wheel just because there is a change of people.”