Amherstburg Police Service

Amherstburg police reminding people to stay off private property after snowfalls

 

The Amherstburg Police Service are again reminding snowmobile operators to stay off of private property unless permission is gained from the land owner.

Police say there were seven calls over the past week of snowmobile operators trespassing on farmland and other private properties. Amherstburg police remind the public that if crops or other property is damaged, the snowmobile operator could face charges.

Also, police responded to several accidents where drivers slid off the road and into ditches. Amherstburg police remind motorists to slow down and adapt to road conditions when winter weather hits.

 

Trespassing – The Amherstburg Police Service is investigating a break-and-enter that was reported last Thursday evening at the former St. Bernard School. Police say a person tending to the building found that a door was forced open. Nothing was taken from the building, police say, adding that people can still be charged with such offences as trespassing and mischief if caught breaking into buildings like the former elementary school.

Accident – Amherstburg police issued a seven-day license suspension to a 24-year-old Windsor man following a single vehicle accident Sunday around 6 a.m. The accident occurred on Concession 5 North.

 

Theft – Amherstburg police state a theft from a vehicle was reported last Wednesday around 3:10 p.m. A vehicle owner who parked in the 400 block of Sandwich St. S. reported a handicapped permit was stolen from the vehicle. Police are reminding people to lock their vehicles when the vehicle is unattended.

 

Fraud – Amherstburg police are conducting an investigation into an ongoing fraud that was reported in the 300 block of McLeod Ave. Police say the allegations centre around false pretenses over contracting work being done at the home. The investigation is still ongoing, police say.

 

Stats – The Amherstburg Police Service issued 22 provincial offence notices over the past week. There were also 12 911 hang-up calls and six alarm calls that police responded to.

 

-All information courtesy of the Amherstburg Police Service

Suspect arrested in connection with Lynn’s Variety robbery

 

The Amherstburg Police Service has arrested and charged a 27-year-old man in connection with the Feb. 5 robbery at a local convenience store.

The accused, an Amherstburg resident, was arrested without incident about 5:30 p.m. Feb. 6. He was charged with robbery and wearing a disguise with intent to commit and indictable offence.

Video from Lynn’s Variety shows a male suspect during a mid-afternoon robbery Monday.

Amherstburg police were dispatched to Lynn’s Variety Feb. 5 at 3:22 p.m. for the robbery that had just occurred. According to police, the lone male was wearing a ski mask and allegedly approached the clerk and handed over a note demanding money. The clerk gave the suspect a quantity of cash and the suspect fled on foot. Police told the RTT Tuesday morning that the suspect left the scene and went on foot southbound on George St.

Through investigation, the suspect was arrested a day later.

If anyone has information relevant to the investigation, they are encouraged to contact police at 519-736-3622, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 519-258-8477 (TIPS) or online at www.catchcrooks.com.

Amherstburg police investigating variety store robbery

 

 

The Amherstburg Police Service is investigating a robbery at a local variety store.

Police were called to Lynn’s Variety on Richmond St. Monday around 3:20 p.m. for a report the store had been robbed. Police say male suspect made off with “a sum of money” and was last seen fleeing on foot southbound down George St.

The alleged suspect is described as male, in his 20’s, roughly 5’7” in height and wearing a black balaclava, black coat and black pants.

Video from Lynn’s Variety shows a male suspect during a mid-afternoon robbery Monday.

There were no injuries and police add there was no weapon seen. The male allegedly demanded the cash, received it and fled on foot.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Amherstburg Police Service at 519-736-3622 or Crime Stoppers at 519-258-TIPS (8477) or www.catchcrooks.com.

 

 

Theft   Amherstburg police report a theft from a vehicle last Wednesday in the 7000 block of Birdie St. in McGregor. Gift cards were reported stolen from the vehicle. Amherstburg police are again reminding people to ensure their vehicles are locked and that anything of value is removed from them.

 

Attempted fraud   Amherstburg police are warning residents to be careful after an attempted fraud was reported last Thursday night. Police say around 7:40 p.m., they received a call from a resident who had computer work done and received a large refund from the alleged computer company. The company asked that the person go back to the bank and send back the money. Police say the local resident did not lose any money as he contacted police before anything was lost.

Police add that companies would not issue refunds for money that wasn’t paid and that the alleged refunds the company issued would likely have been fraudulent and simply used to trick someone into actually sending money in return.

 

Mischief   A two-vehicle accident at the intersection of Richmond St. and Sandwich St. S. resulted in a youth from LaSalle charged. The male youth was charged with failing to stop at a red light. There were no injuries, police say.

 

Mischief   A business in the 200 block of Sandwich St. S. suffered damage after a suspect or suspects climbed onto the business’ roof. A roof vent was reportedly damaged, Amherstburg police states.

 

Warrants   A 20-year-old male was arrested for outstanding warrants Monday afternoon. The accused was arrested on Murray St. around 3:50 p.m.

 

-All information courtesy of the Amherstburg Police Service

Council, JPAC get another earful over possible police switch

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Two more public meetings on the proposed switching of police services from Amherstburg to Windsor were held last week with large crowds wanting their voice on the matter.

Approximately 65 people attended last Thursday night’s meeting at St. Peter’s ACHS College School while over 100 attended a Saturday meeting at the Libro Centre, the latter lasting approximately three hours.

The majority of the residents in attendance voiced opposition to switching from the Amherstburg Police Service to the Windsor Police Service though there were some supportive opinions during the two meetings.

John Miceli, the town’s chief administrative officer (CAO) and chair of the Joint Police Advisory Committee (JPAC), pointed out policing currently takes up 23 per cent of the town’s total operating budget. He emphasized that it will be town council who will make the final decision, and that decision is scheduled for Feb. 26.

The community room at the Libro Centre was packed for the Jan. 27 meeting on the policing issue. (Submitted photo)

Mike Mitchell, a consultant from MPM Consulting, said the town’s Request for Proposal (RFP) is “quite a comprehensive document” and is available for public viewing on the town’s website. Mitchell added the Windsor police proposal addresses all the concerns laid out by the JPAC while Miceli stated the “town is committed to an accountable and transparent process.”

Many members of the public weren’t buying what the JPAC officials were saying, including Ross Scott who questioned Mayor Aldo DiCarlo as to why this process was taking place.

Denise Bondy holds up a photo of her father – former Amherstburg police chief George Hannah – during a public meeting at St. Peter’s ACHS College School Jan. 25.

“This issue has never been about service or service levels,” said DiCarlo. He said it was caused by people who were questioning candidates during the 2014 election about policing costs and wanting options.

Windsor police chief Al Frederick said Amherstburg has “an excellent police service” but believed public safety could be enhanced if the service was switched. Frederick noted crimes are “borderless” today and “your high school students are being victimized every day.”

Amherstburg police chief Tim Berthiaume said the current service is as efficient as it can get.

“We never stop looking for efficiencies in the police service,” he said. “We are already running as lean as we can be but we never stop looking.”

Berthiaume cited $240,000 in savings from switching the dispatch to Windsor.

Scott called the process “ludicrous” and put his support behind the Amherstburg Police Service.

“I am quite satisfied with Amherstburg police. I am proud to say I taught many of them and they are good people,” said Scott. “I have no problem with Windsor police but, in my opinion, Amherstburg can do a fine job.”

Denise Bondy reiterated a previous position that the decision was too important to be made in haste and with less than the full council. Two members of council – Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale and Councillor Diane Pouget – have sought legal advice and have declared a conflict of interest.

Bondy called for the public to have a vote in whether they want policing switched.

Dan Ouellette said he feels safe in Amherstburg and commended the current officers.

“I’m very happy with the police force we have,” he said.

“I like the Amherstburg police force,” added Nancy Atkinson. “I think they are doing a fine job.”

Atkinson said she didn’t see the need for enhanced services like bomb squads and the other, with enhanced services also being questioned by others. Miceli said the enhanced services would come to Amherstburg, if needed, free of charge though noted OPP doesn’t currently charge for services and “may or may not” in the future.

Frederick pointed out there was an explosive ordinance that washed up in Amherstburg several months ago that Windsor police detonated.

“It does happen,” he said. “It happened here recently.”

Another look at the packed house at the Libro Centre Jan. 27.

Frederick, when addressing a different question, said they are “staffed well in Windsor” and that he doesn’t foresee pulling resources from Amherstburg to Windsor in case of a major crime. The JPAC has stated that all current Amherstburg officers would stay in Amherstburg and leave only if they pursue promotional opportunities.

George Kritiotis said he believes in the officers with the Amherstburg Police Service.

“I don’t think any service would police Amherstburg better than the Amherstburg Police Service,” he said.

Kritiotis questioned why Windsor doesn’t use body-worn cameras with Frederick replying that no large municipality currently employs them and that he wants to see what added value he brings.

“I never said I don’t want them,” he said.

Berthiaume said the difference in Amherstburg is its size, adding it’s “a completely different animal” in Windsor.

“We are small enough (to have body-worn cameras). We can handle the capability ourselves,” said Berthiaume. “I’m a firm believer in them for the community. It’s a good fit for our community and our people.”

Kritiotis questioned whether Miceli was in conflict due to the CAO being a former Windsor employee but DiCarlo defended the CAO. The mayor said that if people wanted to lay blame and hate someone, go through him, adding that any thoughts of Miceli being behind a conspiracy is “absolute nonsense.”

Paul Hertel called for town council to receive a more thorough report that goes beyond the RFP.

“If council has no JPAC report content on this issue, it must search elsewhere. I believe the public is entitled to understand the thinking of its duly elected representatives and expects more articulation than a mumble of platitudes,” said Hertel.

Hertel also questioned what the timeline is for implementation and what the implications are for the dissolution of the local police force and police services board. He also wondered implications would come into place if Amherstburg is added to the Windsor Police Services Board.

“Based on the public meetings so far, and my readings, I am unconvinced that the community finds merit in the current proposal,” said Hertel. “Notwithstanding the answers to my questions, there appears to be neither evidence of urgency or failed community policing. Contracting out police services is not an option and I hope the final JPAC report to Amherstburg council will acknowledge the views of our citizens.”

“We are very comfortable with what we have,” added Tracey Matte. “The savings aren’t enough to make us switch from what we have.”

It is projected the town would save $567,802 annually by switching to Windsor.

Others agreed that the savings wasn’t enough, with some voicing they would be glad to pay an extra $61 on their taxes. That is the average amount per household that would be saved.

Frank Cleminson, who spoke at both of the first two meetings, pressed for transparency in the process and how numbers were arrived at.

“I’m still concerned with how you arrived at these savings,” said Cleminson. “If you have the numbers, you should be able to put them up and explain the savings.”

“There is no hidden agenda here,” responded Frederick. “There is no hokey-pokey with numbers. I have nothing to gain by pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes with regards to finance.”

Frederick said Berthiaume and Amherstburg deputy chief Ian Chappell would be offered sworn positions with Windsor police and that accounts for some of the savings.

“We are being transparent and accountable,” he said. “I have no interest in this other than supplying a superior police service at a cheaper cost.”

Among questions posed by Marc Pillon were the reduction of operating costs but noted many residents would rather pay for the existing service.

“It is emotional,” he said. “We are saying this is not what we want.”

Tim Ackerson indicated there are studies that show small forces manage operating costs effectively and that local forces have an intimate knowledge of the town. Ackerson said his position was a “weak no” but there could be opportunities in the future.

“It’s not the right time,” said Ackerson. “In the future, maybe it will be.”

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkins said there was a regional policing study done several years ago that showed a benefit to the region. He said the town would receive the same level of service should the proposal be accepted with same same officers, vehicles and shift schedules.

“We can do this and save the town $560,000,” said Dilkins.

Dilkins added that “no one is not trying to be transparent” but there are police functions that are included in the proposal that can’t be stated publicly by law.

“We can’t de-risk this more for the Town of Amherstburg,” said Dilkins. “We can’t.”

Other towns have switched to OPP and maintained their identity, he added, and predicted the same would be true of Amherstburg should a switch to Windsor police occur.

“You will not lose your identity based on one decision,” Dilkins told the crowd at the Libro Centre Saturday afternoon. “You are too strong of a town for that to happen.”

Michael Prue, a former MPP and mayor from the GTA, said after 26 years in politics, he learned to “forget the money” if it comes down to what the public wants versus cost considerations.

“To me, the fundamental problem is the town will lose control,” said Prue. “The Amherstburg Police Services Board is essential. It states where the police service should be going.”

Prue added it is the wishes of the public that are the most important.

“The people of the town make the town,” he said. “Give them what they want. It’s the town and it’s what they are going to pass down to their children.”

Len Paquette didn’t believe the right questions were asked during the JPAC process, adding his belief that the process was being “sugar coated” and that not all the facts were being released.

“If you break it down, it’s 17 cents per day,” he added.

Don Brown, an Amherstburg resident and member of the Amherstburg Police Service, said many officers already have specialized training and it is similar to what Windsor officers have. Steve Owen, another Amherstburg resident and Amherstburg officer, questioned how long the JPAC had to review the proposal, noting there have been rumours of them only reviewing it 20-30 minutes.

Miceli said the motion from JPAC was to move the process forward and “no one forced anyone to agree or not agree with the motion.”

Owen added they offer accident reconstruction and VIP in Amherstburg, with that latter seeing ten visits to a Grade 6 class by an officer. He told the public while there is a concern that there is a concern the town isn’t listening to them, the police officers are.

Shawn McCurdy, another Amherstburg officer and president of the Amherstburg Police Association, said they have a great working relationship with Windsor and have respect for the service but the majority of members want to stay with their own service.

“I think the public needs to know that many of us want to stay in Amherstburg,” he said.

Glenn Swinton questioned whether dispatch is on top of the policing proposal or included. He was told it was a matching up of contract terms with Dilkins noting that if Amherstburg were to return to its own force after five years, they could still have dispatch services.

Should a switch back to Amherstburg occur down the road, Swinton also questioned the shape the assets returning to the town would be in. He also had questions about the JPAC itself, wondering who drafted the terms of reference. DiCarlo said administration created them and they were approved by council.

The crowd listens to the JPAC presentation at St. Peter’s ACHS College School Jan. 25.

In a written notice, Swinton called for the disbarment of the JPAC, alleging several members were in conflict. He believed DiCarlo was in conflict for having a relative on the force while Berthiaume was an employee of Amherstburg police. Swinton’s letter also named Councillor Rick Fryer, alleging conflict due to “legal issues having been put before the APD” from members of his family including the issue involving

The process of electing a chair and vice-chair was also questioned with Miceli being appointed chair of the JPAC.

Swinton stated in a letter that he was taking the matter to the town’s integrity commissioner. Swinton questioned during the meeting when a Friday JPAC meeting was actually called, with Miceli responding it was called two days previous and placed on the town’s website.

Among those in support of the Windsor police proposal was Judy Carter. Carter said she had no reason to doubt that Amherstburg police provides an excellent service. She did say she was concerned about her tax dollars and how they are spent.

“I’m retired. I don’t have a money tree in the backyard,” she said.

Carter said she supports switching to the Windsor police service, adding she hopes more people with opinions like hers speak up.

“I do support the proposal because of the enhancements it provides to the town,” said Carter.

Sarah Gibb said she was a “soft yes” for the Windsor police proposal. She didn’t believe it should go to a public ballot as she feared that residents wouldn’t educate themselves fully and vote out of fear, the latter which she said is “all over the internet.”

There will be some savings but they are “savings nonetheless,” she said. She urged the town to place the savings into a reserve and not use the money for any “surprise giveaways.” Should the town maintain the status quo, there is no guarantee there won’t be increased costs to cover it, she believed.

“I feel the Windsor Police Service is a viable option,” she said.

Gibb added: “I would feel sad to see the local service go, out of nostalgia, I suppose.”

Noting it is a stressful time for people in the community, Gibb pointed out there would be no job losses for current Amherstburg police members.

“I choose to see this as an opportunity for our town and its police officers,” said Gibb.

The decision on whether or not to switch will come Feb. 26 and DiCarlo suggested the meeting be moved to a larger venue than the council chambers to accommodate the crowd. It might also be the lone agenda item that night.

In the meantime, the town states it is going to come up with phone and online surveys to further gauge public opinion.

Amherstburg police investigating damage to a turbine

 

 

The Amherstburg Police Service is investigating damage to a wind turbine off of South Side Road.

Officers were called to the turbine in the 5000 block of South Side Road last Sunday around 8:50 a.m. Police say someone broke into the turbine and damaged switches that were inside. There was no word of a damage estimate.

The matter is still being investigated.

 

Assault   Amherstburg police are investigating an alleged assault that took place in the 100 block of St. Arnaud St. last Friday around 11 p.m. Police say it doesn’t appear there were any injuries and they are searching for a suspect. The suspect is described as a male with brown, spiky hair, jean shorts and a red and black plaid shirt. The matter took place on the street, police say.

Mischief   Amherstburg police say eggs were thrown at a residence on Venetian Dr. with the matter being reported Jan. 21. There are no suspects or damage reported.

  • Two youths were issued trespassing notices after damage was reported to a washroom at McDonald’s The matter was reported Jan. 16 at 11:50 p.m.

 

Accident   A two-vehicle motor vehicle collision was reported Jan. 19 at 6:50 a.m. on Front Road North. Police say one of the drivers, a 33-year-old Amherstburg man, was charged under the Highway Traffic Act for changing lanes not in safety. There were no injuries, police add.

 

Thefts   Police are investigating a theft that occurred from a residence in the 200 block of Gore St. There were few details available as of press time but it was reported last Friday.

  • Computer equipment was reported to have been stolen from Walmart Jan. 18 around 8:50 a.m. The suspect is described as a white male who is about 5’11” in height. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Amherstburg Police Service at 519-736-3622 or Crime Stoppers at 519-258-TIPS (8477).

 

Stats   There were 53 traffic-related tickets handed out over the past two weeks. There were also 19 911 hang-up calls, four alarm calls.

 

—All information courtesy of the Amherstburg Police Service