LaSalle Police Service

MADD Canada launches “Project Red Ribbon,” continues to urge drivers not to drive impaired



By Ron Giofu


MADD Canada has hit a milestone that they wish didn’t have to occur in the first place.

MADD Canada recently launched its 30th annual campaign known as “Project Red Ribbon” in which ribbons are sold and many tied to vehicles as a way to pay tribute to those killed or injured in impaired driving crashes. The organization is also hopeful people remember not to drive impaired during and after the holiday season.

Chaouki Hamka, community leader with MADD Windsor-Essex County, said at a the launch of the campaign locally that it is vital to continue efforts to help keep impaired drivers off the road.

“Impaired driving is the number one criminal cause of death in Canada and it has been for a long time,” said Hamka. “It is 100 per cent preventable. Unfortunately, people are still making the wrong decision and getting behind the wheel when under the influence of drugs or alcohol or getting into a car with someone who is impaired.”

Hamka indicated that students in Grades 6-8 are starting to experiment with drugs and alcohol.

Police officers from multiple jurisdictions helped launch “Project Red Ribbon.” MADD Canada is encouraging people not to drive impaired this holiday season and beyond.

Hamka shared four tips to stay safe, including never driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. He said marijuana can impair a person’s ability to drive the same way alcohol can.

Hamka also encouraged people never get into a vehicle with some who has been drinking or doing drugs. If a person plans on drinking or doing drugs, have a plan to get home safely. Hamka said he didn’t condone excessive drinking or drug use, but urged people to have a plan if they are still willing to do so.

“Step up and make a difference,” Hamka added, with that including not being silent and/or taking someone’s keys to keep them off the road.

The local Project Red Ribbon campaign kickoff included officers from Windsor, OPP, LaSalle and Amherstburg. Hamka thanked all for being there, noting that police “pick up the pieces of what’s left” after and impaired driving crash.

Four people are killed every day in Canada due to impaired driving crashes, Hamka said.

Party hosts New Year’s Eve are encouraged to:

  • Have lots of food and non-alcohol/low alcohol beverages available. Party hosts looking to add non-alcoholic beverage options to their menu can check out MADD Canada sponsor Hill Street Beverage Company and their alcohol-free beer, wine, champagne and mocktails.
  • Serve drinks yourself so you can monitor how much your guests are drinking.
  • Don’t serve alcohol to anyone who is intoxicated.
  • Know how your guests are getting home and who is driving.
  • Use the Uber app or have numbers available for taxi companies.
  • Be prepared to have intoxicated guests spend the night.
  • Stop serving alcohol long before you expect the party to break up.

Allstate Insurance has partnered with MADD and Sheila Davis of Allstate Insurance said the 30 years is a bittersweet anniversary for them.

“Both organizations wish drinking and driving is not a problem on our roads,” said Davis.

Davis encouraged the public to spread the word about Project Red Ribbon and to not get behind the wheel while impaired.

Staff Sgt. Sean Bender of Windsor police called impaired driving “an avoidable nightmare” and no police officer wants to deliver the difficult message to a family that their loved one won’t be coming home. OPP Staff Sgt. Brad Sakalo also said impaired driving is preventable and that people need to remember that any amount of alcohol or drug can impair someone’s ability to drive.

Const. Sean Gazdig represented the Amherstburg Police Service and said Amherstburg police supports keeping roads safe. Amherstburg police sends officers every year to the announcement as the service is in full support of keeping impaired drivers off the road.

“We’re committed to keeping the roads safe,” said Gazdig.

Amherstburg police switching dispatch services to Windsor



By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Police Service will be dispatched out of Windsor by year’s end with a cost savings also coming as part of a new five-year agreement with the city.

The Amherstburg Police Services Board agreed at its meeting last week that the Windsor Police Service be awarded a five-year contract for dispatching services. Currently, Amherstburg police is dispatched out of LaSalle but that will come to an end at the end of the year when the new contract with Windsor kicks in.

Windsor’s bid came in at $653,000 over the five-year period with LaSalle police’s bid being over $1.48 million over that time frame. Owen Sound police and Strathroy-Caradoc police also submitted bids with those bids being just under $1.48 million and $1.54 million respectively.

“The LaSalle Police Service will continue to provide dispatching services until the Windsor Police Service takes over. We estimate that transition should be completed by mid-December,” said Chief Tim Berthiaume.

The start-up costs with Windsor are estimated at $295,000 for hardware and software needs. Another $50,000 will be allocated for “incidental and/or unexpected expenses” related to the transfer.

“Any incidental or unexpected expenses will be funded from the existing police reserves,” said Berthiaume.

There would have been no start-up costs had Amherstburg police remained with LaSalle police for dispatching services but there would have been costs relating to upgrading equipment, including computers.

Berthiaume said dispatching costs this year are estimated at $323,000 with that being increased to about $340,000 in 2018 had the contract with LaSalle been extended, as that contract included an automatic five per cent increase. Excluding set-up costs, the chief said dispatching services from Windsor are expected to cost $71,000 next year.

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“This is the third time in approximately 15 years the Amherstburg police has switched dispatching providers. None of the previous providers were located in Amherstburg. As with other transitions the Windsor Police dispatchers and police personnel will be offered opportunities to ride along with our front line staff,” said Berthiaume.

The chief pointed out that the last time dispatching services were switched was when they went from Leamington to LaSalle in 2010.

The Amherstburg Police Services Board in collaboration with the Chief of Police is committed to the perpetual pursuit of finding efficiencies and costs savings, he said. Berthiaume added that the issue of dispatching was first raised at the board level in early 2016.

“During my examination of each budget line, I brought dispatching to the attention of the Amherstburg Police Services Board,” said Berthiaume. “A committee was struck to put out an RFP for dispatching services.”

The committee that examined the Request for Proposals (RFP’s) included police services board chair Patricia Simone, vice chair Bob Rozankovic and Berthiaume.

“We are very pleased with the cost saving,” said Berthiaume. “We’re always looking for efficiencies. It never stops.”

The motion passed last week accepts Windsor police’s proposal for dispatching services, Berthiaume added, and authorized Simone and Rozankovic to enter into contract talks with them. As for what would happen should council elect to switch to OPP or a regional policing model, that remains unclear.

“The exact details of the contracts are being worked on. As soon as the contract is signed it will be available to the public,” said Berthiaume.

It is anticipated that the public will not notice the change in dispatching service, the chief stated.

The switch from LaSalle police to Windsor police for dispatching services is strictly a matter of dollars and cents, Berthiaume emphasized.

“I think it’s important to acknowledge the LaSalle Police Service. The switch from LaSalle to Windsor is about cost savings, not service,” said Berthiaume. “LaSalle is a first-class police service. They are more than just a neighbouring organization. They are a valued partner.

Berthiaume said LaSalle police features Amherstburg’s friends and colleagues and “I am committed to maintaining the valued relationship we have built with them.”

LaSalle man charged with several offenses related to alleged contact with underage females



As a result of an ongoing investigation involving the Amherstburg Police Service, the LaSalle Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police, the Amherstburg Police Service has charged a 20-year-old LaSalle man with numerous offenses.

The accused is facing 25 counts of fail to comply with recognizance, two counts of fail to comply with probation, two counts of making sexual explicit material available to a child, one count of invitation to sexual touching and one count of luring a child.

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The accused is believed to have been communicating with females between the ages of 14 and 17 that he met through a social media application between December 2016 and April 2017. It is believed that he assumed a particular profile name and other aliases, police state.

Amherstburg police state there have been a number of victims that have come forward from throughout Essex County and add that it is possible that there are additional people that he has had contact with. Anyone who knows of people under the age of 18 that he has had contact with via social media or by other means, contact police.

Anyone who may have information is asked to contact Det. Const. Nick Dupuis at 519-736-8559 ext. 229, Crime Stoppers at 519-258-TIPS (8477) or online at

LaSalle police arrest Amherstburg woman after fentanyl capsules seized


An Amherstburg woman faces charges from the LaSalle Police Service following an investigation.

As a result of the investigation, a 20-year-old Amherstburg woman was arrested and charged with possession of Fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking. According to LaSalle police, officers seized 130 capsules of Fentanyl from the female with an approximate street value of $9,100. She has also been charged with four counts of breaching conditions of a recognizance of bail.

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During the investigation, LaSalle police add that a 24-year-old Windsor man was also arrested and charged with breaching a condition of a recognizance of bail.

Both individuals were held in custody for a bail hearing.

The LaSalle Police Service would like to remind the community of the dangers of opiate use, specifically Fentanyl.

The LaSalle Police Service encourages the community to contact them at 519-969-5210 or Crime Stoppers at 519-258-8477 with any information pertaining to the trafficking of drugs.


Amherstburg Police Service to appoint mental health officer



By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Police Service will soon have a specially assigned mental health officer.

Chief Tim Berthiaume said the police department gets roughly $170,000 in grants annually with the province asking that money be re-purposed. The officer, who has yet to be appointed, will be a full-time officer in that position, receive special training and work in collaboration with the LaSalle Police Service and Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.

It will be a redistribution of current resources, the services stated in a tweet Tuesday morning.

“We’re hoping the officer will start April 1 in their new role,” said Berthiaume.

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The chief said the idea behind having a full-time mental health officer would be to reduce calls for service and allow the Amherstburg Police Service to be proactive. The officer would meet with people in the community, give them options and advise them about what services there are available.

The officer would also be able to build and maintain relationships with people who may need mental health resources, Berthiaume added.

Berthiaume stated they have been tracking mental health calls for the last three years and there has been a “steady incline” in the amount of calls that Amherstburg police have been receiving. There were 67 mental health related calls in 2016, Berthiaume said, but that number does not include calls with charges. The chief indicated there could be other incidents with a mental health component but classified as something else due to a charge being laid.

Berthiaume added that collaboration with LaSalle police would include the mental health officers covering each other off when the other is unavailable.

The officer is expected to be appointed soon as Berthiaume stated there is a competition within the police service as to who will get the position. Once that officer is assigned, he or she will be given special training to assist them with their new duties that start April 1.