Amherstburg Police Service

Cops still pursuing outstanding payments

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The issue of outstanding payments to former Amherstburg police officers is still outstanding and may end up in court.

While some payments have been made, the officers, most of whom are now with the Windsor Police Service – Amherstburg Detachment, officers are still awaiting others.

“(The town) paid severances and some vacation time to certain individuals,” said Const. Shawn McCurdy, who was the president of the Amherstburg Police Association and current director on the Windsor Police Association.

McCurdy noted there was some sick time also paid and one-year of salary “top-ups” paid but there is more to come including banked overtime, statutory pay, more vacation time and severance for one individual.

“We haven’t had any conversations with them for over a week,” McCurdy stated Monday morning. “Council and administration have not given us any information whatsoever. Our next step is to seek a court order to have it all paid.”

The former Amherstburg Police Service and chief approved all the payments and the town has no authority to interject, said McCurdy, adding the town was “made well aware of these outstanding items.”

Should the matter go to court, McCurdy believed it could cost taxpayers more as the officers could seek damages as well.

“Under the agreement, they are contractually obligated to pay all of these items,” said McCurdy. “It all stems from the collective agreement. The mayor, Aldo DiCarlo, was the lead negotiator for the board when all of this was negotiated.”

McCurdy said it is unfortunate the situation has gotten to where it is and stated they have contacted their lawyer.

“We’re only asking for what we are entitled to,” he said. “It’s very unfortunate. It’s disheartening. It should not have come to this.”

McCurdy added they are simply standing up for their legal rights and hope it can be resolved without additional costs to the residents.

DiCarlo maintained the town’s position that it is the residents whom they are looking after.

“Our position hasn’t changed in the sense we are doing due diligence as far as our financial reporting goes,” he said.

DiCarlo said he can appreciate the officers’ frustration, but said the town’s finance department “are working very hard on this trying to get it resolved” and that a lot of the money has been paid in advance of legal deadlines.

“A considerable amount has been paid out,” the mayor stated. “We’re doing what we can to expedite it. We’re working on it.”

DiCarlo had previously indicated that the town needs all the documentation in order to pay the costs per its financial reporting obligations and said Monday night that he appreciates the officers positions but “the town has theirs. We have a responsibility to the residents who are going to be paying these bills. We are doing what we absolutely have to to be responsible to them as well.”

While not wanting to see the matter go to court, DiCarlo indicated the town would “absolutely be there” to defend its position.

Dispute over unpaid money to former Amherstburg police officers continues

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A dispute over unpaid money to officers with the former Amherstburg Police Service is ongoing and the officers are looking for answers as well as their cash.

Const. Shawn McCurdy, who was president of the former Amherstburg Police Association, said officers are still awaiting funds relating to overtime that was earned last year, statutory and vacation time earned in 2018, sick time pay and salary top-ups, with severance pay also having been delayed.

McCurdy, now a director with the Windsor Police Association, said “it’s very frustrating that council decided to disband the (Amherstburg Police Services) Board” as that is the body the association dealt with. He said the money was owed was approved prior to the disbandment of the Amherstburg Police Service but now the officers have to go through the town.

As for the town, McCurdy stated “they’re not saying much” and that there is an “obvious breakdown in communication.”

Reports that officers are “satisfied” with how the process is unfolding are “completely inaccurate,” McCurdy added.

“No one is satisfied they have to sit and wait for earnings they are entitled to,” he said.

McCurdy added that had the Amherstburg Police Service not been disbanded, the money would have been paid by now “no questions asked.” Though Amherstburg police has disbanded, the time was still on the books and has to be paid, he stated.

“It’s extremely frustrating we are being treated this way,” said McCurdy. “It’s very disheartening and disrespectful that we have to wait such a long time and we haven’t been told anything.”

Bob Rozankovic, who was the final chair of the Amherstburg Police Services Board, said that there was council representation on the board and pointed out that legally, administration could not be part of the process previously. He noted that per the Police Services Act (PSA), administration could not be part of the process but noted via a Facebook post, in which he shared with the RTT, that the town “was advised they could apply for ‘standing’ at the arbitration hearing. They chose not to because they knew the request would be turned down by the OCPC.”

According to Rozankovic, the process is that the officer works overtime, the sergeant approves it, the chief audits it.

“This process has been in place for years and administration has always received and paid these amounts as of year-end,” he stated. “Administration was given the same information this year as every year.”

Rozankovic stated the APSB followed the same protocols as laid out in the PSA “with no deviation” and alleged that it is “the CAO and mayor that want to work outside the rules.” He added that the overall estimated payout was provided to the Joint Police Advisory Committee (JPAC), CAO John Miceli and town council in February 2018.

“Everything has been documented along the way and still there are those who choose to believe the mayor and the CAO,” Rozankovic charged.

The APSB decided to go to arbitration to ensure that the correct decisions were being made by the APSB, he stated.

Rozankovic accused Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and Miceli of bringing “shame on this town with their antics” and believed they “should be held accountable in whatever way possible.”

DiCarlo said the town is awaiting supporting documents and has to have them before anything is paid out.

“We would like to pay out the required costs and finalize this so we can move on,” said DiCarlo. “The town has a number of financial reporting obligations and we have to follow the appropriate accounting procedures and that’s what we are trying to do.”

DiCarlo disagreed that had the police service not been disbanded, that the money would have already been paid out.

“We would be asking for the same information,” he claimed.

The town was in a financial crisis four years ago and DiCarlo stated the Deloitte report recommended having such reporting documentation.

“Without the appropriate information the town needs, the people being disrespected the most are the taxpayers,” DiCarlo told the RTT. “We have an obligation and we are trying to meet those obligations. If (the officers) feel disrespected, I can’t help that. All we’re asking is ‘where are the records?’ We are absolutely trying to pay out what is required but can only pay out what we can substantiate.”

DiCarlo added: “I’m comfortable with the town’s position. We are following the proper protocols that we have to follow.”

 

New officer in charge vows policing services will stay the same for the public

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Now that policing in Amherstburg has switched from being the Amherstburg Police Service to the Windsor Police Service – Amherstburg Detachment, the new person leading Amherstburg officers vows the service residents will see will be consistent to what has always been here.

Staff Sgt. Dave DeLuca, the officer in charge of the Amherstburg Detachment – said there is still training for officers and civilian staff to do but indicated much of the hard work is now behind them.

“All of the heavy lifting was over the last couple of months,” he said, noting he was part of 13 committees that prepared for the dissolving of the Amherstburg Police Service and the welcoming of officers in Amherstburg to the Windsor Police Service.

Transitioning policing from one service to another was “a massive undertaking,” said DeLuca, but what is left is mostly training on the administrative side of the Windsor Police Service.

“We’re taking over the administration of the service,” said DeLuca. “Service delivery is identical. Nothing is changing at all.”

DeLuca said there will still be 31 officers based in Amherstburg, counting himself, and that Amherstburg has access to different Windsor police units such as forensics and K-9 units. Four officers from Amherstburg went to Windsor with one being a patrol officer, one going to the training branch, a third going into court services with a fourth officer becoming the regional cannabis enforcement officer.

“We have six Windsor officers being assigned out here and they are all going to be uniformed patrol,” said DeLuca, adding that two officers from the former Amherstburg Police Service have been promoted to sergeant with the Windsor Police Service – Amherstburg Detachment.

Staff Sgt. Dave DeLuca is the officer in charge of the Windsor Police Service – Amherstburg Detachment.

The remainder of the service stays the same, he indicated, and pledged that service levels will remain the same.

“In Amherstburg, you will always get an officer to every call,” said DeLuca. “It stays 100 per cent exactly as it’s always been. You will get an officer out, just as you’ve always had.”

DeLuca added he is happy with how everyone seems to be settling in and believes much of the concern over the past year was due to uncertainty of what exactly was going to transpire.

“Now that all of the questions have been answered, everyone seems to be settling in really, really well,” said DeLuca.

There may be some services online soon, such as the ability to get police clearances and signing up for the vulnerable persons registry, but DeLuca described those as enhancements and emphasized that officers will still come out to call and work on the same schedules.

DeLuca was born and raised in Amherstburg and continues to live here and raise his family.

Windsor chief Al Frederick (right) was on hand for the swearing in of the Amherstburg officers Jan. 1, including Sgt. Don Brown. (Photo courtesy of the Windsor Police Service)

“I couldn’t be happier to work in town. It’s great,” he said.

The Windsor Police Service – Amherstburg Detachment continues to work out of the office at 532 Sandwich St. S. and DeLuca said the same phone numbers will remain. The number for non-emergency calls remains at 519-736-3622, general inquiries is 519-736-8559 and emergency calls to 911.

DeLuca believes that Windsor police will provide quality service to Amherstburg residents.

“Give us a chance,” said DeLuca. “I think they are going to be pleasantly surprised, especially with the enhancements that are coming. If the town is serious about growth, this is a step in the right direction. We are not taking anything away. Things are not changing.”

The switchover came at midnight Jan. 1, with DeLuca, Windsor Chief Al Frederick and other officials from Windsor on hand to swear in the Amherstburg officers under the Windsor police banner.

Special Olympics hockey game sees police battle General Amherst

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Special Olympics Ontario will benefit from a charity hockey game that was held at the Libro Centre before the holidays.

General Amherst High School’s boys hockey team faced off against the Amherstburg Police Service team, though the latter contained officers from other departments as well as family members and supporters. The police team also featured the services of Amherstburg Admirals’ co-owner Wes Ewer and General Amherst principal Melissa DeBruyne.

Mike Cox, the long-time Amherstburg police officer who was also a major part in Special Olympics fundraising over the years, said with the exception of about a three or four year period after the former AMA Arena closed and the Libro Centre opened, the game has been going on for “as long as I can remember.”

The Amherstburg police team and the General Amherst boys hockey team gather for a group photo following their charity hockey game for Special Olympics Dec. 21.

Over the past number of decades, the police played the fire department, the Admirals, General Amherst and even the Detroit Red Wings alumni. He thanked his colleagues for helping out and taking over much of his former duties in organizing Special Olympics fundraisers including Nick D’Amore, Don Brown and Melissa Taylor.

One of the fond memories Cox had included the year two-time Olympic gold medalist Meghan Agosta played for the high school team.

“It’s not often you get to skate with someone who has a couple of gold medals,” said Cox. “She’s such a good person, just a fantastic person.”

Raising money for Special Olympics has long been a love for Cox, and is something he plans on continuing in his post-policing career.

“If we can raise a few dollars to support the cause, it’s something we love to do,” said Cox. “I’ll still be involved with Special Olympics and the Essex County Heroes.”

General Amherst boys hockey team coach Pat Garrett (left) presents an award to Mike Cox in recognition of Cox’s service to the school community.

Cox is hopeful the Special Olympics hockey game continues under the Windsor police banner.

“It’s the community. That’s what it’s all about,” he said. “The more contact with police only makes for a better community.”
General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett, who presented Cox with a plaque in recognition for his service over the years, said it was a great cause the team and school were happy to be part of.

“I think it was a fun day,” said Garrett, noting the work put in by fellow teacher Greg Scott’s fitness and recreational leadership class to make it happen.

Garrett noted DeBruyne was also supportive of the event, adding that honoring Cox “was very important.”

For more photos from the game, please visit our Facebook photo album.

ACS, Amherstburg Police and Mealtime Express team to help area families

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A local partnership between a non-profit agency and the Amherstburg Police Service is continuing to aid local families.

That partnership is also aided by local businesses who continue to contribute to the cause.

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and the Amherstburg Police Service have teamed up again this year with the latter holding a toy drive. ACS then helps distribute the toys to families they know are in need locally.

There will be 83 children and 40 families helped this year, said ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

Mealtime Express’ “Secret Santa Dinner” held last month raised over $12,000 for the cause with a toy drive held jointly between Re/Max realtors John D’Alimonte and Kim Wheeler and Amherstburg Buick GMC also seeing a pickup truck loaded with gifts dropped off.

“We also had the Dupuis family do a lemonade stand,” noted Const. Nathan Harris.

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and the Amherstburg Police Service teamed with Mealtime Express again this year on a toy drive as part the Secret Santa program. From left: ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo, Const. Nathan Harris, Ashleigh Harris and Const. Steve Owen.

The family of Const. Nick Dupuis, including wife Lauren and children Kailee, Mason and Jett, raised money in the summer at the lemonade stand.

“This is our fifth year,” Harris’ wife Ashleigh said of the Amherstburg police toy drive, and Nathan indicated it won’t be the last even though the Amherstburg Police Service will be no more come Jan. 1 with policing being done by the Windsor Police Service’s Amherstburg detachment.

“As we switch to the Windsor Police Service, we’re hoping to do this partnership with ACS and Mealtime Express again,” he stated.

“We’re pleased with the generosity of the community,” said DiBartolomeo, with Austin Tyrrell, ACS’ community awareness and fundraising coordinator, adding that “it’s nice to see everyone has come together to make sure people have a nice Christmas.”

“We can’t say thank you enough to everyone who helped out with donations and those who came to the fundraising dinner,” stated DiBartolomeo.

The Amherstburg Police Service isn’t done yet in terms of community involvement, as a they will once again present the Special Olympics hockey game at the Libro Centre. That is scheduled for Dec. 21 at 12:30 p.m. with General Amherst High School being the opponents.