costing

Windsor police proposal deemed “viable,” public meetings to come

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The police costing process is moving ahead as town council has agreed with the Joint Police Advisory Committee (JPAC) that the Windsor Police Service (WPS) is “viable.”

As the Windsor Police Service ended up being the only service that actually submitted a bid under the town’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for policing services, it was the lone option discussed at Monday night’s town council meeting. CAO John Miceli, a member of the JPAC, believed there are “significant savings” for the town should they opt to switch from the Amherstburg Police Service (APS) to WPS.

Miceli said the proposal satisfies the provisions the town set out for its police service. The CAO reported to council that the town could save $567,802 per year should a switch occur, which would translate into over $2.8 million over five years.

There would also be the elimination of post-retirement liabilities, which currently sit at $3.9 million. Miceli added the town would be able to re-purpose $380,580 from the police reserve for other municipal purposes and that there would be cost containment going forward.

“The Windsor Police Services’ proposal is viable and meets the requirements of the RFP and Joint Police Advisory Committee,” he said.

The positions of chief and deputy chief would be eliminated and there would be a staff sergeant looking after the current Amherstburg officers. Miceli indicated that Tim Berthiaume and Ian Chappell could be reassigned within Windsor police. There would be opportunities for promotion for some officers as well, he indicated.

“For our residents, faces aren’t going to change. There would just be a different reporting structure,” said Miceli.

Vehicles would be assumed by the Windsor Police Service “wherever possible” and most equipment would be as well except body cameras and non-lethal shotguns. Reintroduction of body cameras down the road is possible if WPS’ tests are positive.

Administrative calls would still be handled by existing civilian members at the Amherstburg police station.

Should a switch be made, the current Amherstburg Police Service and Amherstburg Police Services Board would be disbanded with the mayor or a designate being appointed to the Windsor Police Services Board.

Four public meetings are scheduled for different locations within Amherstburg Jan. 17, 18, 25 and 27, with most being evening meetings. The Jan. 27 meeting is proposed to be held in late morning or early afternoon on a Saturday. The CAO indicated that Berthiaume, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Windsor police chief Al Frederick, consultant Mike Mitchell as well as himself would be at the meetings to answer questions.

Miceli believed the town could benefit from additional services and units offered by WPS, and noted that current Amherstburg officers as well as Windsor officers would help out at public events.

DiCarlo said that residents can expect a detailed analysis of the Windsor police proposal, adding they can compare directly with what is currently available with the Amherstburg Police Services.

The mayor indicated there is a lot of information to discuss and the public meetings will help the town and residents talk more in-depth about the proposal.

Noting he was qualifying his statement that he was not advocating one service over the other, DiCarlo said the WPS proposal was significant in different areas. Windsor police addressed “every last detail” in the RFP and while cost savings are not as much as some people are looking for, he noted the town will keep the existing Amherstburg police station.

“If we ever wanted to go back (should a switch be made), we still have a building,” said the mayor.

The offer to take over long-term liabilities and benefits was pointed out by DiCarlo, noting the $3.9 million will likely grow in future years due to people living longer, insurance and inflation.

“In simple terms, the one nice thing about this is whether you agree or not, we’re comparing apples to apples,” said DiCarlo.

Miceli indicated a final decision could be made by council as early as Feb. 26.

OPP does not give police costing to Amherstburg

 

By Ron Giofu

 

If the town switches from its current police service, don’t look for the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) to be the service they go to.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo confirmed that the town did not actually get a costing from the OPP and only received a costing from the Windsor Police Service.

“Instead of getting a costing from the OPP, we got a letter saying they are not going to follow our guidelines,” said DiCarlo.

DiCarlo said it was “definitely disappointing” that the OPP took that position, but said he was aware of how costing proposals are presented. The town had guidelines on what it wanted in terms of policing and believed the OPP was unwilling to provide the details the town wanted in a costing whereas Windsor was willing to do so.

 

 

“Our position as the people responsible for the taxpayers dollars is that we don’t have to know every last detail, but someone has to confirm what the taxpayers are paying for,” said DiCarlo. “The OPP refuses to give that information.”

The OPP “basically said no” when asked for the details the town wanted, said DiCarlo. He said it was “incredibly disappointing” the OPP didn’t want to work with the town’s guidelines, adding it was also “very frustrating” that while Windsor was willing the OPP “couldn’t be bothered.”

DiCarlo didn’t doubt the OPP provides an excellent police service, he said he didn’t understand their costing model. He said while the town understands it would get “adequate and effective” policing from the OPP, “they won’t tell us exactly what that means.”

The town will now move forward with the options of switching to the Windsor Police Service or sticking with the current Amherstburg Police Service. That process, including public consultation, should continue early in the new year.

Policing decision could come quicker than anticipated

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Town council has taken the next step in deciding the future of policing in Amherstburg with the final decision possible this term of council.

At the conclusion of Monday night’s meeting, town council re-emerged from an in-camera session and passed a motion that administration be authorized to proceed with the issuance of a request for proposal (RFP) for police services and invited LaSalle, Windsor and the OPP to participate.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said the joint police advisory committee has met and the town is ready to proceed to the next stage, which is getting the numbers from the interested police agencies on what costs would look like for them to police the town of Amherstburg.

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While it was looking like it would fall onto the next council to make the final decision, DiCarlo said the process has advanced quicker due to Amherstburg rising in the queue for an OPP costing. A number of municipalities have dropped out, the mayor said, which has led to Amherstburg’s costing request to be granted sooner.

“We will be getting numbers by the end of the summer, if all goes well,” said DiCarlo.

DiCarlo said the town’s two motions still stand as it relates to the OPP coming in and the possibility of a regional police force. He said existing officers with the Amherstburg Police Service would be offered jobs should a switch take place.

Residents are looking for the same standard of policing as they have currently, the mayor stated.

Town council wants to make the decision once and doesn’t want to accept or reject any proposal without knowing all the details, DiCarlo said.

“It was always council’s position to look at all of the options at the same time,” he said. “The goal is to have all of the information in front of us.”

Should a switch be made, DiCarlo said it would be six months to a year before it would be implemented.