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Ottawa police get $1M federal grant to expand ‘radicalization’ intervention program

July 21st, 2018 | by Richard Paul
Ottawa police get $1M federal grant to expand ‘radicalization’ intervention program
Politics
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Ottawa police get $1M federal grant to expand ‘radicalization’ intervention program

Ottawa Police Service.
Ottawa Police Service. JULIE OLIVER / POSTMEDIA

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The federal government has announced a $1-million grant to Ottawa police to expand a program that would see officers and community groups intervene when people are at risk of radicalization.

Ottawa-area member of parliament and cabinet minister Catherine McKenna announced the funding Friday on behalf of Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale.

The grant, spread over four years, comes from the federal “community resilience fund” to expand a program with a new focus on radicalization.

The program, dubbed MERIT (for multiagency early risk intervention tables), involves many agencies, literally coming together at regular meeting tables to review specific cases and discuss what each organization needs to do to assist.

The program in Ottawa began in the city’s southeast region, but the grant money would help expand the program expand elsewhere in the city.

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The rationale is that in many cases, families or individuals interact with many agencies that often aren’t working together to coordinate how the same individual or family moves through the separate systems.

In the MERIT model, those agencies, which include police, school boards, public health, community housing, Children’s Aid Society and others would work together instead of in silos to help at-risk families and individuals.

That group includes those who are at-risk of “radicalizing to violence.”

According to a news release from the federal government, the money will go towards training police officers and civilians working on the projects and to “build awareness in the community about preventing and countering radicalization to violence.”

Ottawa police acting Deputy Chief Joan McKenna said in the release the funding will “support the development of a city-wide strategy for preventing and countering radicalization.”

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