Steve Owen

Amherstburg Police Service recognizes officers, civilians… and a dog

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Police Service’s annual awards night honoured those with two legs as well as those with four last Tuesday night.

The awards dinner, held at Riccardo’s Italian Restaurant, saw four officers, two civilians, an organization and – for the first time ever – a dog recognized as part of the night.

A Citizen Recognition Award went to Macie, a golden retriever owned by the Morden family. Macie went outside through her doggie door the morning of Aug. 19 and noticed something strange. She began barking loud enough so her owners would check what was going on.

The winners of awards at the Amherstburg Police Service awards dinner gather for a group photo. From left: Chief Tim Berthiaume (with Grant Morden and Macie), Jodi Ouellette and Joanna Conrad from the Essex County Diversion Program, town fleet mechanic Randy Riediger, Pauline Gemmell, Sr. Const. Margaret O’Brien and Sgt. Mike Cox. Absent are Sgt. Don Brown (25-year service award) and Sr. Const. Sean Gazdig (10-year service award).

“When Julie Morden looked out the window, she noticed that her vehicle door was open,” said Const. Steve Owen, the community services officer and master of ceremonies for the award presentations. “As a result, police were contacted and within 15 minutes a male was arrested in the area with several stolen items located on him that had been taken from numerous vehicles in the area.”

Also honoured with a Citizen Recognition Award was Pauline Gemmell, who served on the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB).

The Community Partnership Award went to the Essex County Diversion Program. Youth justice case manager Jodi Ouellette (left) and executive director Joanna Conrad (right) accept the award from Chief Tim Berthiaume.

“During this time, the service has maintained a competitive budget while improving the look of our police vehicles and implementing new equipment such as less lethal shotguns, carbine rifles, and body cameras. The town was also one of the safest town’s in Canada during her tenure,” said Owen.

Chief Tim Berthiaume presents a Citizen Recognition Award to Pauline Gemmell.

The Essex County Diversion Program was honoured with the Community Partnership Award.

“The Essex County Diversion Program seeks to promote and foster a healthy community by providing timely and effective intervention with at-risk youth. For those who are not familiar with extrajudicial measures, it is a program that allows youth to avoid going to court and receiving a sentence, by taking responsibility for their actions and making amends for the wrongs that they have done, through methods such as rehabilitation, community service, paying for damages, and apologizing to those they have affected,” Owen stated. “They also offer outreach programs which act as a preventative strategy to educate youth on a variety of topics such as bullying, sexting, drugs abuse, and video game addictions to name a few. Youth Diversion is a strong partner of the Amherstburg Police service and the community of Amherstburg.”

Sr. Const. Margaret O’Brien receives a 25-year service award from Chief Tim Berthiaume.

Officers receiving long-service awards included Sr. Const. Sean Gazdig, who was recognized for ten years of service. Gazdig was unable to attend the dinner.

Gazdig began his policing career in 2005 with the London Police Service and was later hired in 2007 by the Amherstburg Police Service. He began working in general patrol and is now in the traffic enforcement unit. He is a trained police motorcycle operator and he acts as a coach officer to newly hired constables.

“Each year Sean participates as an instructor for annual firearms training for the officers of both the Amherstburg and Windsor police,” Owen added.

Two officers were recognized with 25-year service awards.

Chief Tim Berthiaume presents Sgt. Mike Cox (left) with a 30-year service award.

Sr. Const. Margaret O’Brien began her policing career with the Amherstburg Police Service in 1992. She is currently a detective in the criminal investigations division.

“Maggie has received training in interviewing and interrogation, search warrant writing, asset forfeiture, and is a certified property and evidence specialist to name a few of the assets she brings to the service,” Owen pointed out.

Sgt. Don Brown, who was also unable to attend the dinner, also began with the Amherstburg Police Service in 1992. His background includes being a patrol constable, marine operator, patrol sergeant and is now the detective sergeant in the criminal investigations division.

Randy Riediger (left) receives a Chief’s Award of Excellence from Chief Tim Berthiaume.

“Don has been trained in many areas including investigating offences against children, investigative interviewing and has been a trained breath technician,” said Owen.

Receiving a 30-year service award was Sgt. Mike Cox, who began his policing career in Amherstburg in 1987.

“Mike Cox was a community police officer before there was community policing. Mike has been a fixture with our local community living organization and with the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics,” said Owen. “In 2004, Mike co-founded the Amherstburg Heroes, a basketball league for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Despite not seeking recognition, Mike has been recognized for his work by the community several times. Mike has received the Exemplary Service Medal, the Chief’s Award of Excellence, the Windsor Parade Corporations 911 Community Service Award, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the CanDo 150 Award of Distinction.”

Cox has been trained as a breath technician and coach officer to name a few of his specialties, Owen added. He has served in many roles including constable, patrol sergeant, operations sergeant, and has previously co-ordinated our auxiliary program.

Chief Tim Berthiaume recognizes Macie, a golden retriever, with a Canine Recognition Award. Holding Macie is one of her owners, Grant Morden.

The Chief’s Award of Excellence is described as “the highest award of the Amherstburg Police Service.” It is awarded to an individual, organization or institution that has made a significant contribution to the Amherstburg Police Service or the community.

Randy Riediger, a fleet mechanic with the town since 2004, was this year’s recipient and was described as “one of the hardest workers the town of Amherstburg has known.”

Owen stated “the doors at his garage are always cycling vehicles in and out and keeping our town vehicles and notably our police vehicles on the road. His relentless work ethic has allowed our police vehicles to remain in-house for service and allowed our operating budget to remain competitive and has saved money for the taxpayers.”

Riediger’s efforts assist the Amherstburg Police Service in doing its job, Owen added.

“When our residents call police for assistance and we show up, they just see the police car pull up and the police officer get out. What they don’t see are the people like Randy who keep our service operating effectively and efficiently,” said Owen.

Chief Tim Berthiaume said the awards night was created to honour officers, residents and partners of the police service.

“Taking the time to recognize their contributions brings us together and allows us to grow together,” said Berthiaume. “Our success is dependent on all of us coming together in a positive way.”

Berthiaume thanked town staff for their roles in assisting the Amherstburg Police Service and managing its $6 million budget. Berthiaume also thanked the Amherstburg Fire Department, but joked “thanks for making the Amherstburg Police Service look so good.”

Berthiaume said working together assists everyone.

“The benefit of all this hard work is the community, our community,” the chief added.

Amherstburg police launch blitz focusing on accessible parking spots

By Jolene Perron

 

The Amherstburg Police Service launched a blitz Monday morning focusing on accessible parking spaces within the town and the blitz will last all week.

“We were contacted by the accessibility committee through the town hall in regards to an ongoing issue with people parking in handicap spaces without having the permits,” explained Const. Steve Owen.   “The police service did a one-week blitz last year, we focused on making sure we monitored those people using the spaces and issued bylaw tickets to them if they didn’t have the correct pass. This year we are doing the second annual blitz.”

Owen said officers will be out all week, paying close attention and writing tickets. The current fine for parking in an accessible parking space without a permit is $300.

“To me, they’re there for a reason – for the people who need them. For someone who doesn’t need it to be using that spot, (it) just creates an inconvenience for everybody and everyone gets frustrated when they see that,” explained Owen.

Accessibility committee chair Bill Whittall said they are always out and about in the community looking for ways to make things easier for those with disabilities. As he also has a disability, when he sees someone go into a spot without a permit or a sticker, he knows maybe someone else is cruising around needing that space.

 

Amherstburg Police Services Constable Steve Owen (left) stands with accessibility committee member Marie Allen, chair Bill Whittall, and member Angela Kelly inside of an accessible parking space outside of town hall to kick off their weeklong blitz, which began Monday.

Accessibility committee Angela Kelly has a daughter who is in a power wheelchair. She said when she purchased an accessible van, she specifically requested one that would allow her to come out of the back of the vehicle because she has always had issues with people parking too close to the side of her car and she had a difficult time getting her daughter in and out of the van.

Kelly said education is key.

“The other issue is, I think there are people who maybe have accessible parking permits but are maybe unaware of how they should be using them,” explained Kelly. “A lot of times I will notice people have the parking permits in the front of their vehicles but the person who it’s likely assigned to remains within the car. I often have to, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, move to another location because all of the areas are taken. There are also people who use a relative’s permit and run into the store just because it’s close and quick and they’re only going to be a few minutes so now they are taking up that space that someone who physically needs it is unable to use it.”

The goal of this blitz, Owen said, is to make the public aware that this is an issue, not just to issue tickets to those parked illegally in accessible spots. He added that he wants to make sure the public understands those spots are there for a reason.

CWATS celebration tour comes to Amherstburg

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

An annual celebration of Essex County’s trail and paved shoulder network ended with a bang in Amherstburg.

Amherstburg was one of the stops on the County-Wide Active Transportation (CWATS) celebration tour with every municipality in Essex County participating. The celebration in Amherstburg occurred last Thursday afternoon in Toddy Jones Park with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, members of both county and town administration and Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) officials helping to lead the walk. The walk left Toddy Jones Park, went through Fort Malden National Historic Site, proceeded south on Laird Ave. and returned to the park.

Const. Steve Owen instructs local students on bicycle safety as part of the County-Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS) celebration. It started and ended at Toddy Jones Park with a walk through Fort Malden in between.

Const. Steve Owen instructs local students on bicycle safety as part of the County-Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS) celebration. It started and ended at Toddy Jones Park with a walk through Fort Malden in between.

“It’s great to be here to reinforce active transportation through CWATS,” DiCarlo told the crowd of roughly 300 students that participated.

Students came from both Amherstburg Public School and General Amherst High School.

DiCarlo outlined paved shoulders and trails that have been installed in Amherstburg in recent years, including paved shoulders on County Road 5 (the portion of Concession 2 North between Middle Side Road and Texas Road), County Road 18 and the launch of the Cypher Systems Greenway.

“All of these will support cycling, walking and more active transportation in Amherstburg,” said DiCarlo.

Jane Mustac, manager of transportation planning for the County of Essex, said it was a chance to celebrate with their partners including the seven county municipalities, ERCA, the WECHU, Ministry of Transportation and others.

Students from General Amherst High School walk through Fort Malden during the June 8 CWATS celebration in Amherstburg.

Students from General Amherst High School walk through Fort Malden during the June 8 CWATS celebration in Amherstburg.

There are approximately 150 kilometres of trails in Essex County, said Mustac, noting that it took since 2012 to create that much. The widening of County Road 18 from Meloche Road to Concession 6 South to include bike lanes means people can get from the Willowood campground to Fort Malden on bicycle, Mustac pointed out.

The County of Essex dedicates about $1 million per year towards CWATS and partners also contribute. Not only does it go towards infrastructure, but education and outreach are included. The celebration in Amherstburg was the largest, Mustac added.

Students participating in the CWATS celebration walk along the Detroit River inside of Fort Malden National Historic Site last Thursday afternoon.

Students participating in the CWATS celebration walk along the Detroit River inside of Fort Malden National Historic Site last Thursday afternoon.

“We went out with a bang,” she said. “This is our last stop and they made it count.”

Mustac encouraged people to get out and use the trails.
“Try them out,” she said. “Let us know what can be improved. We are looking forward to the next phase.”

For more information on the County-Wide Active Transportation System, visit www.cwats.ca.

Law Enforcement Torch Run comes through Amherstburg

 

 

By RTT Staff

 

It was wet, it was colder than normal but that didn’t stop law enforcement officers from taking part in the annual Torch Run.

Officers from the Amherstburg Police Service joined their colleagues from around the area in participating in this year’s Law Enforcement Torch Run, with the run taking place in last Thursday’s pouring rain.

The Amherstburg leg of the Torch Run featured a different route this year, as it started at Joe Meloche Ford and finished up at Community Living Essex County’s Channel Resource Centre, located on Bathurst St. The previous route saw them start at the Amherstburg police station and end at Joe Meloche Ford.

Const. Steve Owen, the community services officer with Amherstburg police, said the routes were changed up for 2017.

“We wanted to have more stops, hit more people and use shorter distances,” said Owen, noting they ran 14 kilometres in total.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run came through Amherstburg May 4, where it made a stop at Channel Resource Centre.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run came through Amherstburg May 4, where it made a stop at Channel Resource Centre.

They also wanted to run past high schools and elementary schools, Owen added.

“The whole purpose is to raise awareness for Special Olympics,” he stated.

Despite the rain, Owen said during the Amherstburg stop that the run was going well. In all, there were runs in Leamington, Kingsville, Belle River, Tecumseh, Windsor and LaSalle with it concluding in Essex.

A fundraising total was not currently available, as Owen noted that they are still raising money.

“We’re still collecting funds,” said Owen. “Money is still coming in.”

The 2017 Law Enforcement Torch Run also marked the final one for Sgt. Mike Cox. Cox, a local leader in raising money for Special Olympics, has stated this was his last one after running for the last 29 years.

Amherstburg police receive annual vehicle donation from Joe Meloche Ford

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Police Service and Joe Meloche Ford have teamed up once again for the benefit of community service programming.

Amherstburg police have received a 2015 Ford F150 pickup truck from the local Ford dealership. Const. Steve Owen, the police service’s community services officer, said the partnership between Amherstburg police and Joe Meloche Ford has lasted for at least the last ten years.

“Every year, they donated a vehicle for our use,” said Owen. “Once they get it back, it’s sold as a demo. They own the vehicle.”

Joe Meloche Ford made their annual vehicle donation to the Amherstburg Police Service with this year’s vehicle being a Ford F150. The vehicle is used for community service work. From left: Mike Ropac, Joe Meloche, community services officer Const. Steve Owen, Michelle Ropac and Mackie Jones.

Joe Meloche Ford made their annual vehicle donation to the Amherstburg Police Service with this year’s vehicle being a Ford F150. The vehicle is used for community service work. From left: Mike Ropac, Joe Meloche, community services officer Const. Steve Owen, Michelle Ropac and Mackie Jones.

Owen said the vehicles have ranged over the years from the Focus and Fusion to the Escape and Explorer. The vehicles are used for Owen to go to his community service functions and transport any materials he needs to bring with him. Those functions include teaching the Values, Influences and Peers (VIP) program, trips to local high schools and other events in and around the community.

“It’s not for general patrol, it’s not used for general police work. It’s just for community service,” said Owen.

The pickup truck was officially turned over to Amherstburg police last week. Dealer principal Joe Meloche indicated it is a partnership he would like to see continue well into the future.

“We’ve got a great police force and we want to keep them,” said Meloche. “We get along very well with them.”