Council to establish committee “police advisory committee” to discuss costings

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The town of Amherstburg will be starting the process to form a “police advisory committee” and that committee will review all policing options the town will receive.

Now that the town has formally submitted a request for an OPP costing, the committee will look at that when it finally arrives but Mayor Aldo DiCarlo also noted it will review any and all regional options the town will look at. Windsor has expressed interest in supplying Amherstburg with a costing as has LaSalle with Essex also having shown interest in having discussions with Amherstburg.

CAO John Miceli’s recommendation saw him use guidelines set out by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) with the membership of the committee proposing to include Chief Tim Berthiaume, Miceli, two members of council, two members of the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB) and one member of the Amherstburg Police Association as well as a facilitator.

Members from the APSB and council will be determined though there was concern raised Monday night it could lead to as many as four council members of the committee.

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“The expectation is we won’t be making a decision on policing until all costs are before council,” said DiCarlo.

With the moratorium on OPP costings lifted, “we realized we need to get the committee in place and look at all the options,” he said. DiCarlo added the OPP does four costings at a time and already has four municipalities they are working with and has the next four decided upon.

Amherstburg would hope to be in the group after that.

“The timelines are absolutely controlled by the OPP,” said DiCarlo. “All we know is we’ve put in a formal request and we hope to be in the next batch that gets considered.”

That could take one year, he said, and another six months for an actual costing. In the meantime, Amherstburg can have discussions with other local municipalities about the regional policing option. He added there is still the option of maintaining the existing Amherstburg Police Service.

“If I could stress anything, it’s that this isn’t a simple outsourcing process,” he said.

If the town chooses a different method of policing, it would be very difficult to switch back as the town would have to purchase all the necessary infrastructure again.

DiCarlo said people he talks to have very strong opinions on the subject. He said some are very interested in switching police services while others are adamantly opposed to getting away from the existing service.

“I’ve yet to talk to anyone in between,” he said.

Berthiaume noted the committee wouldn’t actually vote on anything unless given a direction to do so by council.

“It’s a fact finding committee for council,” Berthiaume stated.

“It’s council that will make the ultimate decision,” added Miceli.

Public meetings are also expected to be held eventually as part of the process.

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