There’s a new community police officer on duty in Stittsville. Constable Phong Le (pictured above, photo by Barry Gray) has taken over the position from Constable Lori Fahey. Reporter Victoria Klassen talked to him recently about his background and role in the community.
StittsvilleCentral.ca: What is your background and experience as a police officer?
Constable Phong Le: I’ve been a police officer for almost 12 years. I recently joined the community police centre focusing on Kanata and Stittsville communities. Outside of that my experience has always been patrol and working within in the special events section. My passion has always been patrol because you’re able to work in way where you’re able to engage with the public—but more on a reactive manner, so you’re not able to fix issues prior to it occurring. Working within the community police centre, you’re able to be more proactive.
SC: Why did you make the switch?
CONST. LE: It’s something I’ve always wanted to be involved in because I wanted to work within the community to develop more proactive strategies, instead of being more reactive. On patrol it’s more reactive, call for service, you don’t really see what happens after the fact. With this, you can identify the issues within the community, develop a strategy and hopefully come up with a solution that will prevent more calls for service for patrol.
SC: What’s your role and job within the community?
CONST. LE:“Within the community police centre, the Ottawa police officer is able to develop relationships, work with the community and develop strategies for the issues that are important within that particular community. So Stittsville-Kanata is no different than Orleans, Nepean—the issues, within the Ottawa Police and the City of Ottawa, have always been traffic issues, mischief and theft from vehicles. Issues that are constantly recurring, and developing strategies to deter and prevent those issues is something we are working on.
SC: What types of issues can residents come to you for?
CONST. LE: A lot of issues that are important to the community have always been traffic issues—whether it be speeding or distracted driving—mischiefs, vehicle break-ins. Just being able to have the option to interact with a police officer to be able to answer the questions that they have that are important to them within that particular community.
A lot of people, unless they’ve had police officers attend their residence, whether it be for calls for service or they’ve been in an accident, their interaction is very limited with the Ottawa Police. For me, it’s more or less providing a buffer between the Ottawa Police and the community members. So allowing them the opportunity to ask questions, being more engaged with the public, not necessarily being there when they’re at their worst. So being there when there’s a positive interaction versus a negative interaction.
SC: What are your priorities for Stittsville?
CONST. LE: Whatever concerns and issues that the community of Stittsville has would be something that I would be passionate about. Whether it be traffic issues, youth related issues, vandalism, mischief, break-ins, whatever is important to the community is important to me. Working with the community to provide a strategy and a solution to the concerns that they have.
SC: What situations have you handled so far in the Stittsville area?
CONST. LE: Speeding, mischief, vandalism, vehicle break-ins, break-and-enters, typical issues that face the entire city—it’s not unique to Stittsville.
SC: Anything else you would like to add?
CONST. LE:I look forward to working with the community of Stittsville. Partnering with the community, developing a relationship with members of the community, with the counsellor and with the community associations. Focusing on what is important to the community and then working on developing strategies and solutions to address all of their concerns.
Constable Le can be contacted at 613-236-1222 ext. 2005.