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Police conducted ‘operational debrief’ after HIV crim case

Report of 'lessons learned' will be released next month

The Ottawa Police Service liaison to the queer community held their monthly meeting on June 21. The meeting was attended by more than 30 people.

Inspector Joan McKenna addressed the police’s action with regard to the press release sent out in May that identified a man — by name and photo — charged with aggravated sexual assault after failing to disclose his HIV-positive status before having unprotected sex.

McKenna said that an operational debrief was conducted at the suggestion of the then-acting police chief, Police Deputy Chief Gilles Larochelle. An operational debrief is usually conducted after any major investigation.

“It’s all about lessons learned, what can we do better,” says McKenna. “How can we all learn and move forward from this.”

The operational debrief is a chronologically based process that looks at the police training, equipment used, communication, policies and procedures in the investigation to determine what can be changed, or what needs to be changed based on the events that have happened.

The debriefing committee consists of some members of the police liaison committee, public health, crown attorney, sexual assault unit, the investigation units and everyone who was involved in putting together the brief note, including media and legal officers.

A draft recommendation has been drawn up and is awaiting approval from Larochelle. McKenna expects the recommendations will be announced at the next police liaison committee meeting on July 19.

Kevin Hatt, a member of the police liaison committee and part of the debriefing committee, stated that he felt the meetings of the committee were productive and that the draft recommendations were positive.

Hatt also said that he hoped the dialogue would lead to a different situation next time, so that other groups would not be harmed in the way the queer community has been.

Also present at the police liaison meeting were Vera Etcher from Ottawa Public Health and crown attorney Meaghan Cunningham, who are also members of the debrief committee.

The next meeting of the police liaison committee will be held on July 19, 5:30pm at the Central Police Station, 474 Elgin St in the Pat Hayes Room.