Amherstburg Police Services Board

Integrity commissioner to investigate alleged in-camera leaks

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Who leaked information from an in-camera meeting and the circumstances surrounding it will be subject to an investigation to be conducted by integrity commissioner Bruce Elman as well as a private investigator.

The integrity commissioner will investigate council members that were in the Sept. 10 in-camera meeting while the other investigator will look at administration. Mayor Aldo DiCarlo called the special council meeting Monday night and said from an e-mail chain he was a part of that there was a “clear violation” and that the leak occurred somewhere between Sept. 10-13. Information was sent to Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB) chair Bob Rozankovic and Rozankovic sent an e-mail to council and CAO John Miceli with concerns about it.

No names were released as to whom the person or people are believed to be.

DiCarlo called for the integrity commissioner to investigate the alleged “breach of confidentiality” and council would agree, though not before other amendments were debated, defeated and adopted.

Councillor Rick Fryer’s amendment that council appointed Police Services Board members be removed during the investigation and the positions refilled was defeated. Councillor Jason Lavigne believed that “adding that clause to the motion smacks of guilt before a trial,” adding “that seems to be going a lot around this town lately.”

Lavigne questioned why this particular leak was of such interest and why it warranted a meeting. Lavigne said the current council hadn’t had a meeting of that nature before and further stated he will be asking his own questions at an upcoming Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB) meeting, of which he is a part of. He added he e-mailed DiCarlo several months ago about an apparent breach at a parks committee meeting.

“Know what was done? Absolutely nothing,” said Lavigne.

DiCarlo took exception, responding that “you can’t say what I did or didn’t do” and added after the meeting that all possible violations are taken seriously and treated individually. He also said after the meeting that any member of council can file a complaint with the integrity commissioner if a breach occurs and that the responsibility doesn’t fall solely on the mayor.

Councillor Diane Pouget opposed Fryer’s amendment and that she believed “we are already pre-judging someone” and that “we don’t know who it is.” Fryer said he was not trying to accuse anyone and that his amendment would have removed the people from the APSB while the investigation was ongoing.

“I’m a little befuddled on why you are trying to lay blame on myself or the police board,” asked APSB chair Bob Rozankovic, when Fryer’s amendment was being discussed.

Rozankovic said he advised council and CAO John Miceli regarding the information he received, something he did “out of respect, not to make your lives difficult.” He noted the board is in the middle of severance package negotiations and other matters relating to the switch to Windsor.

The alleged breach did not occur from a APSB member, Rozankovic maintained.

“That came from someone else,” he said. “It was not the police board that created the breach.”

Fryer stated that when Rozankovic sent an e-mail to all of council  – including Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale and Pouget – it was not the correct course of action as the two council members were in conflict and not in the Sept. 10 in-camera session.

“When you declare a conflict, you are not privy to what happened in that meeting at all,” he said.

Councillor Leo Meloche said answers are being sought and that all parties are being looked at. He said it was an attempt to “put it out into the open” and find out why it happened.

“At the end of the day, I just want an answer,” Meloche said.

Councillor Joan Courtney wanted to make sure administration was investigated as well.

“With all due respect to administration, they were in the room too,” said Courtney. “Members of the police service board haven’t done anything wrong. They were acting on the information they were given.”
Town council voted 4-2 to reject the motion with Fryer’s amendment with DiCarlo noting his objection was due to the rest of council wanting administration to be involved in the investigation as well.

The second motion, which included DiCarlo’s request for an integrity commissioner to investigate council members and Pouget’s request that administration be investigated by an independent investigator was passed unanimously.

Following the meeting, Rozankovic said he was informed of information that he didn’t like was in town council’s with his belief that information was in the purview of the APSB. The e-mail voiced his concern that the information was out there and that it involved the employment status of people in the board’s employ.

“Let’s not kid ourselves,” said Rozankovic. “This is all about the police issue. Things may not be going exactly as they would have liked (with the police transfer to Windsor). They have promised zero cost to the transition at all five of their town hall meetings, and I guarantee you this will not be the case.”

Rozankovic said the costs won’t be as promised and that he believes council has to blame someone. He said he would tell the integrity commissioner where the information originated, but didn’t tell council.

“They’re scared of the outcome of certain things and they’ll try to block certain things from happening and certain information from getting out,” said Rozankovic. “It’s the silly season.”

Fryer questioned why Rozankovic didn’t reveal more information about where the alleged leak came from. He asked that “if it’s silly season politics,” why didn’t Rozankovic inform council and “what do you have to hide?”

Fryer added that he has no reason to believe the transfer of policing duties to Windsor isn’t going smoothly.

“In general, I haven’t heard of anything that could cause a derailment,” he said.

In response to what was in the e-mail chain, Fryer indicated he could not comment on it because it contained in-camera information.

Fryer, Rozankovic, Meloche and Pouget are all running for deputy mayor in the Oct. 22 election. There were at least 13 candidates counted in the gallery or in the lobby at the meeting, not counting the candidates who are also members of the current council.

DiCarlo told the media after the meeting that, as the head of council, he had to call the meeting once he discovered there was a possible breach. He disputed claims it was politically motivated.

“It’s not the case,” he said.

The mayor added he did “what I was supposed to do” and that was to call a meeting and let town council discuss the issue. He wanted the two separate investigations, he said, because “no one should be targeted” and that it should include everyone.

Rozankovic updates position on policing issue

 

Deputy Mayor candidate Bob Rozankovic has updated his position on the issue of the police switchover from Amherstburg police to Windsor police.

Rozankovic, who currently chairs the Amherstburg Police Services Board, noted he was limited in what he could say when profiled in May, but now that the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) has rendered its ruling, he has issued the following statement:

“With the OCPC ruling now having ben publicized I can answer the question on the much-debated policing issue with somewhat more detail.

My original answer was “as a member of the APSB I am limited in what I can say at this time. Ultimately it is the decision of council as to the direction the town takes. Certainly, there are both pros and cons and I have the ultimate respect for all councilors that voted on this difficult issue, no matter their individual preference.” Also “as a member of JPAC, I can say we attempted to address all concerns put forth by all stakeholders including residents, police officers, and administration. All facts were clearly presented without bias for council’s decision-making process.”

Whether to contract out policing or not is a generational issue and not simply an exercise in “what is cheaper”. The public meetings that were held fully showed the depth of emotional involvement by this community with its police service. Though, by far, most speakers at the meetings preferred to maintain police service in its current form, I know there were many who preferred the switch to Windsor. Whether the majority wished to switch, or not, no one can say with certainty. And therein lies the dilemma. As I stated previously, this is a generational issue. A “one-shot” deal to get the decision right because there will not be a chance to reverse the decision at a later date. Let’s be clear, the Amherstburg Police Service will never be reconstituted. At the end of the first five-year term Amherstburg will pay Windsor whatever they ask or Amherstburg will need to contract the OPP for service.

Though I am not a proponent of referendums in most cases, I believe a this is one of those rare times. If we had submitted a request to the province by March 1st, we could have had this issue on our ballots for the October 22nd election. This would have pushed the contract start date to July 2019. A very small delay to ensure a correct decision.

There are current councilors who feel that referendums are not worthwhile, that the general public isn’t knowledgeable enough to make these decisions. I beg to differ. The general public will be knowledgeable and will be intelligently engaged if they are provided with valid information. That is particularly true for an issue such as this one. Furthermore, there are times when emotional connection is more important than saving money.

I don’t profess to know whether the majority wanted a switch or not. I do know that in door to door campaigning I am getting many different opinions.

The fact that a three to two vote, with two abstensions, decided this important issue is so sad. How could a referendum have been any worse? At the very least, council would have known the will of the people.”

Rozankovic aiming to be the next deputy mayor

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Bob Rozankovic has his eyes on the deputy mayor’s position and believes the time is right to pursue it.

Rozankovic is running for that job in the Oct. 22 municipal election and has been accumulating a resume of municipal involvement over the last four years. He has been on the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB) and is the current chair. He has also chaired the former economic development committee.

Believing there is “going to be a lack of returning experience” on town council, Rozankovic cited that as a reason he is running for deputy mayor.

“I think the deputy mayor needs to be able to fill in for the mayor when the mayor is not available,” he said, “not just at council but at events around town as such.”

Rozankovic said he wants to see the growth of the town continue. He said a lot of open discussion and positive momentum came out of economic development committee’s “Mayor’s Breakfast” with local realtors three years ago.

“It goes to show how much can be achieved with honest and open discussion with as many stakeholders as possible,” he stated.

“There is so much work left to do and I feel that I have a lot to contribute to the process,” he stated. “I have a good working relationship with the current mayor and administration. Not always agreeing, but always having intelligent discourse.”

Rozankovic, a sales manager in the tool and die industry, believes finances have “turned around in the sense that we know exactly where we stand and we can plan ahead. We need to make decisions on solid business cases, always ensuring that residents get the maximum value for their tax dollars.”

Bob Rozaknovic is running for deputy mayor in the Oct. 22 municipal election

The next term of council will be critical, he said.

“I truly believe the next council is going to set the tone for the future of Amherstburg,” he said. “The last four years have been good but the next four years will be pivotal.”

Ensuring the town assists business startups, local organizations, and festivals is critical to developing a community that people want to live in and people want to move to, he added.

“We have to be branded as a community that is thriving, inviting, and progressive, while at the same time maintaining heritage that is at the core of who we are,” he said.

Rozankovic added: “We want to be the premier retirement community in Southwestern Ontario, and we can be just that. But we must commit to a strategic plan for this to be accomplished.”

Rozankovic would also sit on county council, if elected. He believes county council “does a fair job,” particularly with regards to infrastructure but also thinks the library strike “was mishandled badly.” His objectives would be to ensure Amherstburg’s concerns are lobbied for and also to help lobby the province for more infrastructure funding.

On the policing issue Rozankovic stated, “as a member of the APSB I am limited in what I can say at this time. Ultimately it is the decision of council as to the direction the town takes. Certainly there are both pros and cons and I have the ultimate respect for all councillors that voted on this difficult issue, no matter their individual preference.”

(NOTE: Rozankovic updated his position on the policing issue in August. The original story was published in May.)

Rozankovic added “as a member of JPAC, I can say we attempted to address all concerns put forth by all stakeholders including residents, police officers, and administration. All facts were clearly presented without bias for council’s decision making process.”

There is a lot of “negative energy” around decision-making and Rozankovic said he will provide “leadership that addresses the root causes of voter dissatisfaction and redirect negative political energy into positive outcomes.”

Cost of police clearances becomes a concern of council members

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg town council lent its voice to the issue of volunteers having to pay for multiple police clearances.

The matter arose due to a letter that was included on the agenda as part of Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB) minutes on the matter. Amherstburg St. Vincent de Paul Society member Dan Laing wrote the board with concerns about the organizations volunteers having to repeatedly pay for police clearances.

Long-time volunteers have had to obtain clearances and, with those volunteers also having to be fingerprinted, it brought the cost to $85 for one clearance, the letter stated.

“It is a common theme that most of our male members should now be fingerprinted like common criminals to prove their identity,” Laing’s letter stated. “I think this is ridiculous and no way to treat volunteers who are doing their best to keep Amherstburg the safest community in Canada.”

Laing wrote that volunteers from other organizations have been experiencing similar issues.

“Our SSVP conference is composed of single ladies and 15 couples ranging in age from 60 to 92. Most of the couples who go out on calls together, never alone, have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary,” the letter added. “As well most of us have lived in this community our whole lives and if we were law breakers it would be well known to the local police. I would appreciate it if we could be excused from the fingerprinting requirement at this time or at least the cost of this pointless exercise.”

Laing added: “A new policy concerning the treatment of volunteers who are requesting police clearance would also be most helpful.”

Councillor Joan Courtney raised the issue, noting such volunteers don’t get paid for what they do and are “trying to make life better for residents of Amherstburg.”

Chief Tim Berthiaume said that it is employers and insurance companies who are the ones that seek police clearances and the rules are governed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

“We are working on a policy to help these groups out,” said Berthiaume.

Councillor Rick Fryer called for the fingerprint policy to be changes, stating “once you have the fingerprints once, you have the fingerprints on file.”

Not so, stated Berthiaume.

The police chief stated the fingerprints are not kept in town and are sent electronically to the RCMP. The RCMP doesn’t retain the fingerprint copies, he added.

“It’s not our rule, it’s an RCMP rule,” said Berthiaume. “That’s what leads to the frustration.”

Councillor Jason Lavigne said the RCMP isn’t allowed by law to keep the fingerprints and said the APSB may be able to absorb some of the costs. Fryer voiced concern with that possibility, stating “it’s going to come out of our budget.”

 

Amherstburg Police Service, APSB recognize officers and civilians at awards night

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Police Service and the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB) took time out to recognize community members and some of their own.

The tenth annual recognition and service awards were held at Wolfhead Distillery last Tuesday night. There were two Chief’s Award of Excellence presentations, with one going to a long-time community volunteer and the other to an officer who helped save a woman’s life in the summer.

Award winners and presenters at the Amherstburg Police Service awards night included (top row, from left): Sr. Const. Viktor Burany, Special Const. Piero Amicone, Sr. Const. Nathan Harris, Sr. Const. B.J. Wiley, Sr. Const. Aaron Chambers and Chief Tim Berthiaume. Front row (from left): Const. Steve Owen, Lena Mangoff-Lazanja, Melissa Lywood, Michelle Donlon and Auxiliary Sgt. Ron Paquette.

Award winners and presenters at the Amherstburg Police Service awards night included (top row, from left): Sr. Const. Viktor Burany, Special Const. Piero Amicone, Sr. Const. Nathan Harris, Sr. Const. B.J. Wiley, Sr. Const. Aaron Chambers and Chief Tim Berthiaume. Front row (from left): Const. Steve Owen, Lena Mangoff-Lazanja, Melissa Lywood, Michelle Donlon and Auxiliary Sgt. Ron Paquette.

Sr. Const. B.J. Wiley was called to investigate a report of a missing person June 22. After collecting information on the person, Wiley decided to check her former residence. After finding nothing suspicious around the exterior of the residence, he entered the home with a key that had been provided to him by the complainant. He announced himself but received no response.

Wiley checked the home and located the woman in what was described as a “critical state” then requested an ambulance. The woman was taken to hospital where she was treated.

“Without B.J.’s actions that day, the outcome for the individual and their family would have been much different,” said Const. Steve Owen, the community services officer and master of ceremonies for the awards ceremony.

Wiley said the 78-year-old woman was in distress and his actions were to make sure he “checked off every box” in ensuring he could find the woman. He was very quick to share credit with his fellow officers including every person on his shift that day.

Nine people assisted him in helping the woman and bringing the situation to a successful conclusion.

“It’s not just about me,” said Wiley. “It’s about them too.”

Wiley said the day will be one that he will never forget.

Chief Tim Berthiaume (left) presents a Chief's Award of Excellence to Sr. Const. B.J. Wiley.

Chief Tim Berthiaume (left) presents a Chief’s Award of Excellence to Sr. Const. B.J. Wiley.

Chief Tim Berthiaume (left) presents a Chief's Award of Excellence to Lena Mangoff-Lazanja.

Chief Tim Berthiaume (left) presents a Chief’s Award of Excellence to Lena Mangoff-Lazanja.

“That is something that will stay with me for the rest of my career,” he said.

It is the second time in Wiley’s career that he has saved a life. In 2011, he went into the Detroit River during the winter to rescue a girl who had fallen through the ice.

The second Chief’s Award of Excellence went to Lena Mangoff-Lazanja. Mangoff-Lazanja “exemplifies community involvement” according to her award presentation with her involvement including positions with the Amherstburg Soccer Club, Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of Amherstburg and Amherstburg Community Services.

Mangoff-Lazanja has also fundraised for the Canadian Tire Jumpstart program, which gives kids from families in financial need the chance to participate in sports. She has also been heavily involved with the Amherstburg police bicycle rodeo, an event that is done in partnership with the Rotary Club.

Mangoff-Lazanja, who continues to work on her Ph.D. in education from the University of Windsor, also serves on the Police Chief’s Advisory Committee.

“I am very honoured to be recognized by the police chief and the Amherstburg Police Service,” said Mangoff-Lazanja. “We’ve had a great partnership over the last few years. It’s just continued to grow.”

Noting she can’t accomplish anything without the support of the people around her, Mangoff-Lazanja said she is willing to continue to help in any way she can. She compared the Amherstburg Police Service to the Rotary Club in that both organizations serve the community and also care about the town.

Sr. Const. Viktor Burany received the Police Exemplary Service Medal for his 20 years of service, all with Amherstburg police. During his career, Burany has spent time as a detective in the criminal investigations division where he training in sexual assaults, sexual offenses involving children, warrant writing, investigative interviewing and major case management. He is currently in general patrol and is a scenes of crime officer and a marine operator.

Sr. Const. Viktor Burany (right) receives his Police Exemplary Service Medal from Chief Tim Berthiaume in recognition of his 20 years of service.

Sr. Const. Viktor Burany (right) receives his Police Exemplary Service Medal from Chief Tim Berthiaume in recognition of his 20 years of service.

Sr. Const. Fred Adair, Sr. Const. Nathan Harris, Wiley and Auxiliary Sgt. Ron Paquette were recognized with awards for 15 years of service. Both Adair and Harris were hired by the London Police Service in 2000 and came to Amherstburg in 2001.

Adair works in general patrol and serves as a forensic identification officer when called upon. He has worked in criminal investigations and has received specialized investigative training in the areas of fraud, fires, sexual assaults, and major case management.

Harris has worked in many roles including traffic enforcement, the Windsor Police Drug Unit, and is currently trained in the specialties of technical collision investigator, qualified breath technician, and coach officer. He has also received training in investigative interviewing, identifying and investigation child abuse, and warrant writing.

Wiley was hired by the OPP in 2001 before coming to Amherstburg. He currently works in general patrol and periodically serves as a use of force instructor. Wiley annually participates as an instructor for annual defense tactics, firearms, and conductive energy weapon training for all of the Amherstburg and Windsor Police officers. He is also a trained marine operator.

Paquette first began his volunteer policing career as auxiliary constable in 2001 and was promoted to auxiliary sergeant in 2010. He now is the liaison between the service and the auxiliary constables and works closely with administration to organize manpower at special events.

Receiving ten-year service awards were Sr. Const. Aaron Chambers and Michelle Donlon.

Chambers began his policing career with the Amherstburg Police Service in 2006 and has spent time in specialty units such as criminal investigations, traffic enforcement, and has spent time working with the Windsor Police Drug Unit. Chambers has several special training courses to his credit, including drug investigations, search warrant writing, sexual assault investigations, investigative interviewing, and mobile surveillance.

Donlon was described as “typically the first person to greet anyone attending the office” of the Amherstburg Police Service.

“She works at our front counter and is always friendly, courteous and welcoming,” said Owen. “Michelle will always provide you with the assistance you are looking for. Michelle has also had the pleasure to attend the Ontario Police College as a civilian for the CPIC operator’s course.”

Special Const. Piero Amicone was given a five-year service award. Since being hired in 2011, Amicone has been “the face of the Amherstburg Police Service in Windsor” as he works on a daily basis in the Windsor courtrooms and Windsor cells.

“He always brings a great attitude,” said Owen.

Chief Tim Berthiaume presents the Citizen Recognition Award to Melissa Lywood for her anti-bullying efforts at local schools.

Chief Tim Berthiaume presents the Citizen Recognition Award to Melissa Lywood for her anti-bullying efforts at local schools.

Melissa Lywood was presented with the Citizen Recognition Award. She travels to local high schools, sharing her personal experiences, with the focus of her talks being bullying and the lasting impacts bullying can have.

“She has reached out to thousands of students and created lasting memories for them to carry as they continue to mature,” said Owen. “She provides outlets to those looking for help and promotes a better school environment for students.”

Lywood explained that she grew up in Amherstburg and goes around spreading her story to people. Her sister took her own life in 2003, she said, and Lywood uses that as part of her anti-bullying message.

Chief Tim Berthiaume said the awards ceremony has grown over the years, but noted it was originally started as a way to bring businesses and residents together and recognize their accomplishments.

Berthiaume said Amherstburg is one of the safest communities in Canada.

“When you compare police services of similar size, we are one of the most cost-effective in the country,” he said.

The chief also thanked town staff, noting a strong relationship with CAO John Miceli, and said everyone from treasurer Justin Rousseau to mechanic Randy Riediger have helped make the police service better.

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