Amherstburg Police Service

Bogus U.S. $100 bills making the rounds in Amherstburg

 

 

Local businesses are asked to be wary of people trying to pass $100 U.S. bills in Amherstburg.

The Amherstburg Police Service report that several complaints have been received by businesses of fraudulent $100 U.S. bills that people are trying to pass. Police advise that, for the time being, businesses not accept large foreign bills as the phony U.S. $100 bills look very close to the real thing.

Amherstburg police say that people are trying to buy a small amount of merchandise with the phony U.S. $100 so they can get a large amount of change back. Businesses are asked to be diligent and check with police or their bank if there are any questions about money they received from a customer.

Thefts   The Amherstburg Police Service reports that $800 worth of tools was stolen from a shed in the 300 block of Front Road North. Police say the shed was forced open as the lock was cut by the suspect(s). It was reported to police last Friday around 4:22 p.m. There are no suspects at the present time but anyone with information is asked to call the Amherstburg Police Service at 519-736-3622 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 519-258-8477 (TIPS). People can also report information online at www.catchcrooks.com.

*Amherstburg police state that a complainant reported that her purse was stolen during the recent Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The complaint was filed last Tuesday around 10:40 a.m. but the theft is believed to have occurred July 8 around 5:30 p.m. The purse contained identification and around $900, police state. There are no suspects at the present time.

*An e-bike was reported stolen last Wednesday afternoon from the 200 block of Sandwich St. S. Amherstburg police say the red New Yorker e-bike was taken from near the Amherstburg Public Library with the e-bike being valued at approximately $1,000. It was reported to police around 4:45 p.m. There are no suspects.

*A bicycle was stolen from a residence early last Wednesday morning. Police say around 4:40 a.m., a blue and black 13-speed Trek men’s mountain bike was reported stolen from a home in the 100 block of Park St. There are currently no suspects.

*A theft was reported at the Amherstburg laundromat last Thursday morning around 8:15 a.m. Police say a number of items were taken but there were no further details.

 

Accidents    Amherstburg police say out of 11 motor vehicle collisions that were reported the week of July 9-16, only one resulted in charges.

Amherstburg police say a single vehicle accident was reported on Concession 4 North Sunday morning around 7:20 a.m. A vehicle went into the ditch, police state, with the 23-year-old Amherstburg male driver charged with failing to drive in marked lane. There were no injuries.

 

Stats   There were 13 traffic-related charges laid last week. Amherstburg police state there were also five 911 hang-up calls and eight alarm calls that officers responded to.

 

-All information courtesy of the Amherstburg Police Service

Local youth take part in VIP demonstration day

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A number of Amherstburg schools headed to Windsor as part of “VIP Demonstration Day.”

The event, held recently at the Tilston Armouries, saw five of six Amherstburg schools attend. Grade 6 students, who are taking the Values Influences and Peers (VIP) program, to see Windsor police’s K9 unit, explosives demolition, emergency services tactical units, the outdoor firearms range, the vehicles police officers use and also got to watch as officers repelled from a tower on site.

Students from Anderdon Public School were one of those schools that participated in the VIP demonstration days.

“It gives kids the extra exposure to police and what the capabilities of the police are,” said Const. Steve Owen, community services officer with the Amherstburg Police Service.

Owen said Windsor was kind enough to open their doors to Amherstburg students and the local schools took advantage.

Windsor Police Const. Adam Young said it was the fifth annual event and said when such units are brought to the schools, they could show very little of their capabilities. At the Tilston Armouries, students can see their full abilities.

“It also allows us to engage with students at a personal level,” he said. “We’re here to serve them.”

All of the schools that took part in a recent VIP demonstration day at the Tilston Armouries gather for a group photo.

With the Windsor Police Service possibly serving in Amherstburg, pending approval by the Ontario Civilian Policing Commission (OCPC), Young said they wanted to include Amherstburg students this year as well. He said that exposes Amherstburg students to find out more about what Windsor police is capable of and to get to know more police officers so that it is a “seamless” transition.

Bulk of speakers at OCPC hearing want Amherstburg Police Service to remain

 

 

By Pat Bailey & Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg residents, as well as the Amherstburg Police Service and Windsor Police Service will have to wait about a month before learning if Windsor will indeed take over the policing of the county municipality.

But if Amherstburg residents get their way, the status quo would remain.

At a special hearing of the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) at the Libro Centre last Tuesday, only one local resident spoke out in favour of the proposed deal during the morning, afternoon and evening sessions.

John McDonald was the lone resident who lent his support to the proposal. He said if the sharing of equipment and resources result in a financial savings to the town, he’s in favour of council’s decision to give it a try.

The contract is for 20 years, with the ability to review how it’s working out for both parties, every five years. It also allows for each party to opt out of the agreement given 18 months notice. The length of the contract was questioned at the evening meeting, as some seemed unaware that there were review periods every five years.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said the information has been public for some time and that the 20 year period was added due to concerns from residents that five years was not enough. He said the media “zeroed in” on the 20-year term of the contract in its reporting.

But Nancy Atkinson, 73, who’s lived here most of her life had one question to ask.

“Why are we here today?” she asked as she made her submission before the OCPC and about 30 others in attendance.

For Atkinson, the recent announcement of an investigation into the Windsor Police Service should have at least served to postpone the application.

“To have this application move forward at this time does not look to effective and adequate policing for our community,” she said.

Nancy Atkinson presents her submission before the Ontario Civilian Police Commission opposing the takeover of policing in Amherstburg by the Windsor Police Service. (Photo by Pat Bailey)

But WPS Chief Al Frederick said the investigation has no real bearing on whether his police service can provide effective and adequate policing in Amherstburg, the test that they must pass if the OCPC is to approve the application.

The issues, said Frederick, are related to human resources, such as hiring and promotions, not their ability to serve and protect. He told the crowd at the evening session that “all police services are subject to oversight” and that Windsor police are working with investigators. He expects recommendations on how to improve the service to come out of the investigation.

“I embrace that,” said Frederick. “I don’t run from that. It doesn’t frighten me. I’m completely open to this.”

Frederick also told the group that if not for the fact that Amherstburg and Windsor are not contiguous municipalities, they indeed, would not have to appear before the OCPC.

He said since they do not share a border, the OCPC, a civilian watchdog agency that oversees policing in Ontario, must approve the application, based on whether it believes Windsor can provide adequate and effective policing, despite having LaSalle separate the two.

But Atkinson called for respect for the Amherstburg police, a service, she said that has offered a history of effective and adequate policing which has resulted in Amherstburg being named one of the safest communities in Canada on several occasions.

Denise Bondy echoed Atkinson’s call to nix the application.

She said Frederick’s talk of enhancements to services is not needed in a community such as Amherstburg. She said comparing Windsor’s issues of drugs and murder to the problems in a small town like Amherstburg is more or less comparing apples to oranges.

“Windsor Police Service has issues, big city issues like guns, drugs, gangs, murder and violence in the downtown core and all that come with the border crossings,” she said. “To date this year, Windsor has five murders,” she added, “I don’t think Amherstburg has had five murders since the inception of our own police department.”

So, she said they have no need for the enhancements Frederick spoke of which include bomb dogs, tactical teams, etc.

To questions regarding the changes to the current Amherstburg Police Service, Frederick said policing in Amherstburg will not change.

He said the department will employ the same officers and civilian staff they have now. He said Amherstburg incidents will be handled by Amherstburg officers with the only time Windsor would step in, he said, is if the local department needed use of some of Windsor’s experts or special units.

He assured the group no Windsor cruisers will be speeding through LaSalle to respond to local calls.

As far as Frederick is concerned, Amherstburg will enjoy a cost savings of up to $859,000 annually, while council has that number pegged at about $567,000.

In closing, Bondy pleaded with the OCPC to veto the application.

“The Amherstburg Police Service is effective and more than adequate for the needs of our community,” she said. “Please don’t make it less so by approving this application.”

“It’s not broken,” she concluded, “don’t try to fix it.”

Frank Cleminson, a former member of the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB), said that the town’s original 2014 motion called for a costing proposal from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and to solicit local municipalities as to the concept of sharing police services. He outlined the process and stated that a Sept. 14, 2017 letter from the OPP stated that the OPP would not participate in the process, that the town had not responded to several requests from the OPP to meet with council and that a renewed motion of council was requested by Sept. 30, 2017.

Cleminson said the evidence he presented “clearly shows” that “council’s motion of Dec. 14, 2014 was not acted upon by administration nor was the motion ever rescinded” and that “administration failed to respond to multiple requests from the OPP for a meeting.”

Citing quotes form Mayor Aldo DiCarlo in July 10, 2017 media articles, Cleminson contended that DiCarlo “still believed the OPP were about to deliver a costing proposal” and alleged that administration “failed to advise council of the Sept. 30, 2017 deadline to renew its interest with the OPP that resulted from the lack of communication from administration.”

Cleminson was not asking for the OCPC to refuse the town’s application, but not to provide approval “until such time as the town receives another costing proposal from the OPP (which we all know provides adequate and effective municipal policing) or council formally rescinds its motion of Dec. 14, 2014.”

The Sept. 14, 2017 OPP letter, signed by superintendent commander of the municipal policing bureau Marc Bedard and addressed to DiCarlo, states that the OPP utilizes the information manual for the OPP Contract Proposal Process for all contract proposals.

“We have successfully been using this process since 2016 for the 14 Ontario communities that requested an OPP contract proposal,” Bedard’s letter stated. “The process prescribed in your Request for Proposal differs in significant ways from the process described in our manual. As a result the OPP cannot participate in your Request for Proposal.”

Bedard wrote that “we have made several attempts to schedule an initial information session to explain to your council the OPP contract proposal process. Since we have not been provided the opportunity to do so, we recommend that you and your council familiarize yourself with the Information Manual, as it outlines all the steps involved in the contract process. This manual is kept relevant and up to date. Should your municipality still wish to proceed with a contract proposal for OPP policing services according to the timelines and processes described in the Information Manual for the OPP Contract Proposal process, we require a confirmation by way of Council resolution by September 30th, 2017.”

A number of residents at the evening session also voiced concerns with the application to have Amherstburg policing switch to Windsor police while the latter is under investigation by the OCPC.

“I think the commission should take into consideration there are residents who are concerned,” said Gregory Moore.

Moore called for the decision to be put off either until the next council or until the investigation is complete. He also questioned response times and whether Windsor police officers would be working in Windsor, noting that the environment is different in Amherstburg than in Windsor.

Windsor deputy chief Pam Mizuno emphasized that under the proposal, Amherstburg officers would still respond to Amherstburg calls and be based out of the current police station. She added that the number of officers responding to calls in town would not change and that “Windsor police officers will not be speeding through the Town of LaSalle to get to the Town of Amherstburg,” Mizuno said.

Kevin Sprague said he already had concerns but he now has “even more serious concerns” after learning about the OCPC’s investigation into the Windsor Police Service.

“If any of these allegations are found to be accurate as a result of the current investigation, I do not feel that the Windsor Police Service will be capable of providing adequate and effective policing to the Town of Amherstburg,” said Sprague. “The Town of Amherstburg currently has a professional, adequate, effective and efficient policing service that makes Amherstburg one of the safest communities in Canada and switching to the Windsor Police Service at this time would be disturbing and inappropriate based on the current ongoing investigation which has just recently been made public.”

Sprague added he has received quick service when he has had to call the Amherstburg Police Service but has had to wait hours for service in Windsor. He said he does not want the latter level of service coming to Amherstburg.

“This would not be adequate and effective policing,” he stated.

Sprague believed any decision to abolish the Amherstburg Police Service should be delayed until the investigation in Windsor is done and a final report publicly released.

Local resident and lawyer Anthony Leardi cited the issue of severance pay, stating the abolition of the Amherstburg Police Service “involves the contracts of approximately 30 police officers. This is a large number of police officers.”

Anthony Leardi addresses the OCPC hearing during last Tuesday’s evening session. Leardi requested that the OCPC deny the Town of Amherstburg’s request to abolish the Amherstburg Police Service and contract policing services out to the Windsor Police Service.

Leardi added: “The Amherstburg Police Service will cease to exist as a result of council’s decision. That means all of the police officers, the thirty or more of them, have their employment terminated. They would be entitled to severance pay. They have no obligation to seek employment with Windsor Police Services. The submission made by the Town of Amherstburg does not confirm that there are written agreements in place regarding severance pay. In fact, the submission confirms the opposite: there are no agreements in place at all.”

While speaking at the hearing, Leardi quoted a section of the town’s submission and stated “At this stage it is expected that all serving members will accept positions with the Windsor Police Service. If someone chooses not to do so, a suitable settlement will be negotiated for that employee with a fallback to mandatory arbitration if a settlement cannot be agreed upon” and contended that statements confirms that the town has not made any agreement dealing with severance pay.

“If that is the case, then the town has not complied with section 40(1) of the (Police Services) Act,” said Leardi.

Leardi also believed the process used by the town “excluded the OPP from participated.” He also used the Sept. 14, 2017 OPP letter as an example and it was Leardi’s contention that “the Town of Amherstburg specifically prevented the OPP from participating in the process. The Town of Amherstburg did this by failing to submit a request using the OPP Contract Manual. If the Town of Amherstburg had submitted the request using the OPP Contract Manual, then the OPP would have been able to bid on this contract. I am highlighting this fact simply to make it clear that Windsor Police Service was not the only party interested in providing policing services to Amherstburg. The OPP was also interested but was prevented from participating.”

Leardi requested that the OCPC deny the town’s application to abolish the Amherstburg Police Service.

Pat Simone addressed the hearing, stating her comments were her own opinions and “in no way reflect the opinions of any committees that I may sit on.”

“As I stated at the February council meeting, when council was deciding this matter, there is a human rights complaint against the Windsor Police Service and we have now learned that there are a number of other complaints against the Windsor Police Service,” said Simone. “If these are substantiated it indicates that Windsor is antiquated and treats its employees poorly. How do you think Windsor will deal with outside personnel if it is substantiated with their own employees?   I feel that the outcomes of the complaints will have an impact on this contract. If Amherstburg policing moves to Windsor, we will be following Windsor policy and procedures. We need to ensure that we are putting our officers in an environment that is fair and has equal opportunity for all. If we are putting the officers in an unfair work environment this is not adequate and effective for the officers and/or residents.”

Simone added that the Ontario Police Service Act clearly defines the minimum that is requires by a police service to provide “adequate and effective service.” She said while Windsor police may fit the criteria, “I feel the residents of Amherstburg deserve more. Could OPP provide a more adequate and effective force? This will not be known as the OPP made several attempts to speak with council to discuss the town of Amherstburg RFP process but the OPP received no response from council. The residents of Amherstburg deserve the most adequate and effective force. We don’t know if we’re getting that with Windsor if we don’t know what OPP will provide.”

Also questioned was the Windsor police business plan, as Simone noted the last business plan available online is dated 2011-13 and the last annual report was dated 2012. She also questioned response times and the Windsor police’s efficiency.

“My thoughts this evening are not meant to be an emotional appeal but to provide my thoughts on whether this contract will provide adequate and effective policing for Amherstburg. In my opinion there are too many questions and issues that still need to be determined,” said Simone.

Const. Shawn McCurdy, president of the Amherstburg Police Association, said approximately 75 per cent of his membership want to remain with the Amherstburg Police Service.

“Nothing against Windsor. We have an excellent relationship with them,” said McCurdy.

Windsor police chief Al Frederick and deputy chief Pam Mizuno address questions from the public during the evening portion of the OCPC hearings at the Libro Centre June 26.

McCurdy said the association is “actively working” on the severance issue and that the association was assured that everyone would be offered a position with the Windsor Police Association, should the OCPC grant its approval.

OCPC associate chair Stephen Javanovic said they have reviewed transcripts of the four public meetings and the petitions they have been sent. He said their role is to determine whether adequate and effective policing would be obtained under the proposal and to listen to the concerns of the public.

DiCarlo outlined the Windsor Police Services’ proposal, stating Amherstburg will “exist as a distinct entity within the Windsor Police Service,” the town will be policed by the same officers that are currently serving with the Amherstburg Police Service, all officers and civilians will work out of the existing Amherstburg police station and that “despite any problems that might be identified during the OCPC investigation, the policing environment and culture in Amherstburg will remain as it is.”

The mayor stated “the exceptionally high level of public safety in Amherstburg will continue,” the town will “continue to have effective control” of policing, existing staff will be treated fairly, there will be “significant” annual savings with the Windsor proposal providing “significant future cost avoidance,” and added “the contract will provide detailed, practical measures that ensure that Amherstburg could realistically reconstitute a municipal police service in the future.”

 

Three separate frauds reported last Wednesday

 

 

The Amherstburg Police Service is reporting three separate frauds that were reported last Wednesday.

The first came from a homeowner on Crown Ridge Blvd. as police say a person was trying to connect an Amazon Alexa device and got onto a third party website asking for a fee. After contacting Amazon, police say the person was told it was not a valid website they had gone on. The person’s credit card was not charged but police say people are advised about such an issue.

The second reported fraud was from a resident on Concession 6 North who ordered roughly $80 worth of items on e-Bay only to have nothing arrive. Police are again asking people to be aware. The resident also filed a complaint with e-Bay, police add.

A third complaint came from a Lilac Court resident, who discovered $600 worth of transactions had been made to their credit card. Police are continuing to investigate that matter.

 

Thefts   Amherstburg police say a male party allegedly stole $70 worth of consumable items from Walmart last Thursday afternoon. Police say there were no charges as the matter was dealt with through a trespass notice.

  • A theft of a Sony PlayStation was reported from a home in the 100 block of Richmond St. It was reported Sunday around 5:55 p.m. Police say the matter is under investigation.

 

Accident   A 74-year-old Harrow man was charged following a two-vehicle accident on Howard Ave. last Friday morning. There were no injuries in the crash, which took place in the 7900 block. The man was charged with following too closely.

 

Stats   There were 20 traffic-related charges last week, nine 911 hang-up calls and eight alarm calls.

 

-All information courtesy of the Amherstburg Police Service

Annual bike rodeo still busy, despite wet conditions

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Even though there was rain and damp conditions last Sunday, the annual bike rodeo still proved to be popular.

The annual event was presented at Families First Funeral Home and saw cyclists dodge the rain drops as well as the objects in the obstacle course. The event was presented with many partners, including the Amherstburg Police Service, the Amherstburg Community Based Policing Committee, Families First, Bike Windsor-Essex, Canadian Tire, Sobeys, the Optimist Club, the Rotary Club, Little Buddies Daycare, Bright Child Montessori, Meloche’s No Frills and Lakeside Produce.

Brett Severin assists Ryan Sprague through the obstacle course at Sunday’s bike rodeo

Const. Steve Owen, the community services officer with Amherstburg police, said they had 76 pre-register and were hoping to match the 130 children that came out last year. Just shy of 100 were reported to have come out for the 2018 event.

Bike helmets were given to people who didn’t have one, lights and bells were handed out, bicycles were checked then ridden through an obstacle course and BMX rider Eric Favot also was on hand for safety talks and demonstrations of what he can do.

“It’s to promote bike safety,” said Owen. “The last thing we want to do is see kids get hurt on their bikes when they are trying to have fun.”

Not only was the bike rodeo a way to learn, but they tried to ensure children and parents had a good time too, Owen added.

Heather Lenson from the Amherstburg Community Based Policing Committee (dark shirt) stands with Emma, Morgan and Joshua Hadfield during the June 10 bike rodeo at Families First Funeral Home.

The Amherstburg Fire Department brought their ladder truck to the event and there was face painting and inflatable rides on hand as well. There were also handouts given to people with bicycle safety tips.

“The last few years, it has grown quite a bit,” Owen said of the bike rodeo.

“I think it’s great,” added Heather Digou, who was with her son Ryan Sprague at the event. “It shows them bicycle safety. They are giving kids all kinds of entertainment. I think it’s awesome.”

BMX rider Eric Favot performs a trick during the bicycle rodeo June 10.

“Families First is proud to work with our partners in community to bring the annual bike rodeo to Amherstburg. It is a great way to have fun and a hands-on approach that teaches children the rules of the road to stay safe on their bikes,” says Brian Parent, president of Families First. “Cycling is a great way for kids to get to school, around town and stay active. Cyclists of all ages will have the opportunity to learn how to be safer by being visible to drivers.”