Business plan completed for Amherstburg Police Service

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Police Service’s business plan has been completed and presented to town council.

The report came before town council at the March 20 meeting and received praise from town council members with Chief Tim Berthiaume telling the River Town Times last week they took different measures this time around to get public input for the three-year plan.

“We’ve always had a difficult time getting people to come to advertised meetings,” said Berthiaume.

While they still had advertised public meetings, the Amherstburg Police Service also went to the public to meet in different settings as well.

“We targeted groups. We targeted service clubs. We targeted organizations and we targeted seniors centres,” said Berthiaume. “We basically went to them.”

The police service was greeted well at the meetings and Berthiaume said Amherstburg police learned a lot as well. There were even some issues addressed that weren’t thought of by police going in, including timing of street lights and crosswalk signals.

“The elderly residents appreciated the visit to their buildings,” he said. “They described to us they have a hard time getting out. We received wonderful feedback. We learned a lot from all of our site visits.”

The Amherstburg Police Service performed well in the various criteria they were scored on with the lowest scores being 95 per cent and 91 per cent for how the service handles damage to property and traffic complaints respectively.

Aburg Police Logo Rev-web

“Traffic, year after year, is a concern for residents of the town of Amherstburg,” said Berthiaume.

Noting that the business plan “is about how we are going to police the town over the next three years,” the chief said they have goals of maintaining a high level of service to the community, continuing to seek feedback from the public, continuing to identify the public’s needs and expectations and to maintain good response times.

Preventing property crime is a target over the next three years, he added. Thefts from vehicles continues to be a major issue and “target hardening” neighbourhoods is what police will push for. That includes simple measures as encouraging residents to lock their doors and secure their property.

“This is where we need the community to help us and the rest of the community by simply locking your doors,” said Berthiaume. “As long as people get something by stealing, they will continue to do so.”

With spring arriving, Amherstburg police expect a rise in thefts from vehicles as thieves will also be taking advantage of the warmer weather.

Berthiaume said the Amherstburg Police Service is committed to being open and providing an efficient police service. They acknowledge not only the input from the community in making up the plan, but from officers as well.

“Their feedback was crucial in the development of this,” he said.

Councillor Diane Pouget thanked Berthiaume at the March 20 meeting for the report. She called it “a very good and detailed report” and pointed out the majority of residents believe Amherstburg police is doing a good job.

Pouget noted the increase in property crime, but acknowledged much of that can be attributed to people leaving their vehicles unlocked.

Much of the feedback from the community was about the OPP costing, he added. Berthiaume noted a business plan has to be created by Amherstburg police every three years and the two issues weren’t interconnected.

“A lot of residents want to talk to us about the OPP costing,” said Berthiaume, noting he was glad to have Amherstburg Police Services Board members at the meetings to help with such questions. “The Amherstburg Police Service and OPP costing are two different things but the OPP costing appears to be on everyone’s mind.”

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