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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.

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.

Two arrested after Saturday morning crash

The Amherstburg Police Service responded to a single vehicle collision on Essex County Road 20, east of Essex County Road 9, Saturday around 8 a.m. that involved a silver Chrysler Aspen.

The vehicle was located by a passing motorist and there were no individuals with the vehicle.

Police began checking the surrounding area for anyone who may have been involved in the collision. Police say they subsequently located two individuals walking in the 9600 block of Concession 9 Road South and it was determined that the two individuals were involved with the collision.

Amherstburg police add that while speaking with the individuals, police received information that the vehicle had recently been reported stolen from Leamington. The two individuals were arrested and transported to the Ontario Provincial Police in Leamington.

As the theft occurred in their jurisdiction, the Ontario Provincial Police Leamington detachment is handling the investigation.

If anyone may have information relevant to the investigation, you are encouraged to contact Leamington OPP, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 519-258-8477 (TIPS) or online at www.catchcrooks.com.

(NOTE: This is an updated version to what was published in the Sept. 20 print issue.)

LaSalle not to give Amherstburg a bid on police services

 

By Ron Giofu

 

And then there were two.

Should Amherstburg town council vote to switch policing services away from the existing Amherstburg Police Service, the choices will be between the Windsor Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). That is because LaSalle has opted not to submit a bid to police Amherstburg.

LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya noted that there was a large discrepancy between Windsor and the rest of the field on dispatching and that showed “we don’t have the economy of scale” to match up.

Windsor’s dispatching bid came in at $653,000 over a 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.

“It’s difficult for smaller municipalities to match that,” said Antaya.

When it comes to bidding for the overall service, Antaya indicated that LaSalle believes they couldn’t offer up the cost savings Amherstburg is looking for.

“We recognize the economic scales involved here. Amherstburg is looking at saving costs and we are not sure we can give them the savings they are looking for,” Antaya said.

The LaSalle mayor added his community is happy with the policing they receive and there were some concerns about “watering down” the LaSalle Police Service should resources have been necessary to include Amherstburg. With it now being possible that municipalities are non-contiguous can get to police one another, it now means LaSalle doesn’t have to be part of the equation, Antaya added.

Safety is the most important thing to LaSalle residents, Antaya added.

LaSalle council will discuss possibly giving Amherstburg a police costing Jan. 26.

LaSalle council will discuss possibly giving Amherstburg a police costing Jan. 26.

The news that LaSalle wasn’t going to submit a bid wasn’t the best news Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo has heard, but he was understanding of why it happened.

“Overall, my biggest reaction is disappointment more than anything else,” said DiCarlo. “With no disrespect to other mayors or other municipalities, they have to do what is best for the interests of their municipalities.”

DiCarlo indicated he is a fan of municipal policing, but believed a regional policing model would be cost-effective for those municipalities involved.

“As was stated when we first started this process, this council is the first one to do its due diligence in getting the numbers,” said DiCarlo.

An advisory committee has been set up and DiCarlo believes they have done a good job articulating what Amherstburg wants in a police force. He said Amherstburg has gotten used to a level of service and doesn’t want to lose it, adding that bidders will have to provide a similar method of policing to what exists currently.

The town issued an RFP and the deadline is mid-October. While DiCarlo anticipates there will be some savings, “if Windsor or the OPP can’t do it cheaper, that’s not a bad thing.” He said that is affirmation that the Amherstburg Police Service is providing a good service for a good price.

Saving are in the resources, he added, noting police salaries are roughly the same across the board.

DiCarlo emphasized that retaining the existing Amherstburg Police Service is an option council will have as well. Even though he anticipates a savings from bids from Windsor police and the OPP, DiCarlo said the question then would be whether those savings are enough to not keep the Amherstburg Police Service.

“That is ultimately up to council.”

Mother, son die as a result of 401 crash

 

Two people from Amherstburg died as a result of a six-vehicle collision on Highway 401 last Sunday afternoon, Chatham-Kent OPP state.

On July 30 around 4:40 p.m., Chatham-Kent Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Chatham-Kent Fire Service, and Chatham-Kent Emergency Medical Services (EMS), responded to the collision on Highway 401 near Dillon Road.

OPP states that a westbound tractor trailer collided with five vehicles which were stopped on the highway due to a separate motor vehicle collision. As a result of the collision, two passengers traveling in the pick-up – a 42-year-old female and 14-year-old male of Amherstburg – were pronounced dead at the scene. The identities of the victims are Lacie and Kyle Brundritt of Amherstburg, the OPP stated Tuesday morning.

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The 39-year-old male driver, of the pick-up, was air lifted to hospital with serious injuries and a 12-year-old male passenger was transported by ambulance to hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police add.

Highway 401 between Bloomfield Road and Queens Line was closed for eleven hours.

As of Monday evening, the cause of the collision remained under investigation.

Any person with information regarding this collision is asked to contact the Ontario Provincial Police Chatham-Kent detachment at 1-888-310-1122.

Should people wish to remain anonymous, they may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or leave an anonymous online message at www.helpsolvecrime.com where they may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2,000.