Silvia Cheng

Public meeting to be held by OCPC on policing issue

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Another public meeting will be held with regards to the switching of policing services from the Amherstburg Police Service to the Windsor Police Service.

This time, it will be held by the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC).

While a meeting is planned, details have not yet been finalized, according to Silvia Cheng, communications co-ordinator with  Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario (SLATSO).

“I can confirm that the OCPC is currently reviewing Amherstburg’s application requesting to have the Town’s police services provided by the Windsor Police Service,” said Cheng. “Due to the public interest in the matter, the OCPC has advised the Municipality of Windsor and the Town of Amherstburg that a public meeting will be held. The formal notice regarding details of the public meeting will be released shortly and posted to our website.”

The website is www.slasto.gov.on.ca.

“The OCPC’s role is to decide whether the proposal will provide adequate and effective policing services to the Town of Amherstburg. The OCPC will also ensure that appropriate severance arrangements, if applicable, have been made,” said Cheng. “Following the public meeting, the OCPC will review the information in a timely manner to ensure that it meets the criteria in section 40 of the Police Services Act (PSA). The OCPC has the responsibility to ensure that the abolition of an existing police force does not otherwise contravene the PSA.”

There were four public meetings on the subject in January and February with the majority in attendance not agreeing with the plan to switch. However, at a special meeting of town council Feb. 26, the vote was 3-2 to switch policing services to Windsor with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and councillors Leo Meloche and Rick Fryer in favour. Opposed were councillors Jason Lavigne and Joan Courtney while Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale and Councillor Diane Pouget declared conflict as both have family members that are part of the Windsor Police Service.

The original discussion was based on a five-year contract, but the final vote ended up being for a 20-year contract with Windsor. It is estimated to come with at least $567,000 annually in savings and Windsor will absorb long-term post-retirement benefits. However, many residents who opposed don’t believe in fixing “what isn’t broken,” worried about the loss of local control and questioned the savings that Amherstburg will actually receive.

Town’s policing decision officially advances to provincial level

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Town council has made its decision as it pertains to the policing issue and now it’s in the province’s hands.

Silvia Cheng, communications co-ordinator with Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunal (SLASTO), confirmed that the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) received an application from the Town of Amherstburg March 12.

“The OCPC is currently reviewing the application and will decide on next steps shortly,” said Cheng.

Town council voted 3-2 at a special meeting Feb. 26 to award a 20-year contract to the Windsor Police Service and switch from the existing Amherstburg Police Service. Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and councillors Leo Meloche and Rick Fryer voted in favour with councillors Jason Lavigne and Joan Courtney being opposed. Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale and Councillor Diane Pouget did not participate in the vote as they declared conflicts of interest as both have family members on the Windsor Police Service.

“Consent from the OCPC is required where a municipal police services board seeks to terminate the employment of police officers for the purposes of abolishing or reducing the size of an existing municipal police force,” explained Cheng. “The OCPC must also approve any application where a municipality chooses to contract with a non-contiguous municipality, under section 5(1)6 of the Police Services Act (PSA).”

In an e-mail to the River Town Times, Cheng added that the application process is initiated once an application or submission is received from a municipality.

“The OCPC reviews the information in the application in a timely manner to ensure that it meets the criteria in section 40 of the PSA,” said Cheng. “If there are any concerns with the application, the OCPC will make further enquiries of the municipality. The OCPC has the responsibility to ensure that the abolition of an existing police force does not otherwise contravene the PSA.

Cheng indicated there could be further opportunities for the general public to provide input into the process.

“Depending on the nature of the application the OCPC may decide to hold a public hearing. Until that decision is made, all public submissions should be forwarded to the municipality to be made available by it to the OCPC. However, if the OCPC receives submissions directly it will consider those as part of its review,” said Cheng.

Should the OCPC grant its approval, a switch to the Windsor Police Service is expected to occur in 2019.

The OCPC is an independent, quasi-judicial agency and under the Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario cluster.