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Beautification Ad Absurdum: Ottawa’s National Capital Commission Conservation Officers and the Policing of Homelessness

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Abstract:

The National Capital Commission (NCC) is an organization responsible for so-called ‘beautification’ and land development in and around Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. This paper examines the surveillance and criminalization of homeless people by NCC conservation officers. Conservation officers have been excluded from studies of policing because of a bias towards conventional municipal officers in the policing literature. Conceptualizing NCC conservation officer work as policing, I analyze conservation officer occurrence reports obtained through federal-level access to information requests to demonstrate how NCC conservation officers, who have peace officer status, participate in a mixed public/private economy of policing integral to ‘beautification’ campaigns for urban order and cleanliness. NCC conservation officers coordinate with Ottawa Police Services to form sweep squads that distribute ‘illegal camping’ tickets and conduct arrest blitzes. Peace officers are thus contiguous with law enforcement officers (Bittner, 1967) since they have access to many of the same tools and use law as a resource to banish marginalized groups from urban space. Contributing to the literature on policing of homelessness, my analysis of NCC conservation officer work suggests that these peace officers operate without external oversight or accountability structures in place.
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Name: ASC Annual Meeting
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http://www.asc41.com


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p373487_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Walby, Kevin. "Beautification Ad Absurdum: Ottawa’s National Capital Commission Conservation Officers and the Policing of Homelessness" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASC Annual Meeting, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Philadelphia, PA, Nov 04, 2009 <Not Available>. 2014-11-28 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p373487_index.html>

APA Citation:

Walby, K. , 2009-11-04 "Beautification Ad Absurdum: Ottawa’s National Capital Commission Conservation Officers and the Policing of Homelessness" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASC Annual Meeting, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Philadelphia, PA <Not Available>. 2014-11-28 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p373487_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: The National Capital Commission (NCC) is an organization responsible for so-called ‘beautification’ and land development in and around Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. This paper examines the surveillance and criminalization of homeless people by NCC conservation officers. Conservation officers have been excluded from studies of policing because of a bias towards conventional municipal officers in the policing literature. Conceptualizing NCC conservation officer work as policing, I analyze conservation officer occurrence reports obtained through federal-level access to information requests to demonstrate how NCC conservation officers, who have peace officer status, participate in a mixed public/private economy of policing integral to ‘beautification’ campaigns for urban order and cleanliness. NCC conservation officers coordinate with Ottawa Police Services to form sweep squads that distribute ‘illegal camping’ tickets and conduct arrest blitzes. Peace officers are thus contiguous with law enforcement officers (Bittner, 1967) since they have access to many of the same tools and use law as a resource to banish marginalized groups from urban space. Contributing to the literature on policing of homelessness, my analysis of NCC conservation officer work suggests that these peace officers operate without external oversight or accountability structures in place.


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