Tim Berthiaume

Public gives feedback on the future of policing in Amherstburg


By Ron Giofu


Two public meetings down, two to go on whether or not to switch from the Amherstburg Police Service to the Windsor Police Service.

Thus far, many of the people who have spoken at the meetings oppose a switch with the feeling being that the town should “not fix what isn’t broken.”

A number of residents spoke at each of the first two public meetings, held last Wednesday night at the Amherstburg Municipal Building and last Thursday night at the K of C Hall in McGregor. One resident who spoke at both meetings was Frank Cleminson, a former member of the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB).

Windsor police chief Al Frederick (right) addresses a question during a public meeting last Thursday night. At left is Amherstburg police chief Tim Berthiaume. Two more public meetings are planned for this week.

Cleminson, who chaired the APSB at points during his 11-year tenure on the board, said Windsor police carries a per capita cost of $450 per person while Amherstburg’s is $270. He also called for greater transparency, something he hasn’t seen so far in his review of the Request for Proposal (RFP) documents.

“I’m not seeing it in the RFP,” he said of transparency. “You’ve arrived at numbers and I’m not seeing how you got them.”

Windsor police chief Al Frederick said while 90 per cent of costs are tied up in salaries and benefits, the bulk of the other budget line items could be reduced if the contract for service is given to Windsor police. Frederick added there are savings in dispatch and additional savings would be achieved through the elimination of the chief and deputy chief position and replacing them with a senior officer.

The high per capita costs, he explained, were due to Windsor having to have the same services and units offered by a regional police service but Windsor doesn’t have the ability to spread costs throughout a region.

John Miceli, the town’s chief administrative officer (CAO) and chair of the Joint Police Advisory Committee (JPAC), said “we are as transparent as can be in the public process” and said people can file a request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) for more information.

“You have the privilege at the Amherstburg Police Services Board of seeing everything line-by-line and people had to trust you,” Miceli told Cleminson. “I find it very difficult that you don’t trust the JPAC committee in doing the same thing.”

Denise Bondy believed “this is a change that should be resisted at the present time.”

“If it’s not broken, why fix it?” she asked.

Bondy said Amherstburg “is not a big city” and needs a small town feel with policing. She said the loss of autonomy would be important and also questioned the timing, believing it was happening too quickly as the bid came in during October and a decision is planned for Feb. 26.

“It’s an election year,” Bondy pointed out. “Couldn’t we take a little time and let the people of Amherstburg vote on this? I’m not saying don’t change. I’m saying let’s not be hasty.”

James Bruce of Amherstburg holds up a sign during last Wednesday’s police community consultation meeting at town hall.

“If it isn’t broken, why the heck are you fixing it?” Susan Monaghan asked.

Noting she is a pensioner with a desire for council to be “thrifty,” Monaghan still voiced concerns about the local police losing some accountability.

“Our police service will be part of a larger bureaucracy,” Monaghan stated.

Frank DiPasquale questioned if there are some savings that could be achieved under a contract with Windsor police on such things as fuel, could they be offered now without having to switch? DiPasquale also had issues with two members of council possibly not voting on the matter due to conflicts of interest.

“That’s a big concern to me,” said DiPasquale.

Tom Miller noted that he was pulled over recently in Amherstburg and “the cop was so friendly, it made me want to pay the ticket.” He believed the “brotherhood” among police officers would ensure that other municipalities are covered off if they need extra units such as K-9 units or bomb squads.

“One thing that worries me is Amherstburg’s identity,” said Miller. “I like that small town feeling.”

Miller also had concerns with the possibility of two members of council declaring a conflict, stating that having five people vote on the matter is not “fair in my book.”

Amherstburg resident Frank Cleminson, a former chair of the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB), asks a question at the Jan. 18 public meeting in McGregor. Cleminson also had questions at the Jan. 17 meeting at town hall.

Ron Sutherland, another former APSB member and also a former deputy mayor, agreed that it should be brought to the voters.

“I believe this should be on the ballot for the next election,” said Sutherland.

Debbie Bezaire told committee members that she experienced hospital amalgamations and wondered if promised savings will stay in effect going forward.

“As a taxpayer, what is going to happen in 13 years or ten years? Are the savings going to be there in the future?”

“I think there is a lot of fear of the unknown with this proposal,” believed Chad Barrette. If there were a guarantee of savings beyond the initial five-year period, some of the fear would be taken away.

Larry Amlin said he believes the Windsor Police Service is an excellent one and believes that other municipalities are keeping a close eye on this process. Should Amherstburg town council accept the offer, “I see it as one step towards regional policing.”

Kevin Sprague said the $567,000 in proposed annual savings the town would receive by switching to Windsor police isn’t worth it.

“I have serious concerns as a taxpayer in Amherstburg if we lose our cost-effective police service,” he said. “I strongly suggest that saving $567,000 is not worth fixing what isn’t broken.”

Sprague, who also believes it is an election issue, said he feels that the town would eventually be policed like “a big city” as local officers would take advantage of promotion opportunities and move into Windsor. He added that he has had to deal with the Amherstburg Police Service on various matters and has received quick responses.

“I do not want to risk losing this service,” said Sprague.

The option to switch back to Amherstburg after five years won’t happen, he believed and that the town should “put something else on the chopping block” if they want to save $567,000. Sprague added that no one he has spoken with is in favour of switching to Windsor police.

“The town of LaSalle made the right choice (to stay with their police service) and we need to make the right one as well,” said Sprague.

Len Paquette told Frederick and the Windsor officers in attendance Thursday night – including Deputy Chief Vince Power, Staff Sgt. Ron LeClair and Superintendent Brendon Dodd – that “you are not coming here to help us out. You are coming here to make money. You are doing a good job but, at the end of the day, you are going to make money off of the town.”

Paquette endorsed the existing service and the members thereof and believed the costs would be too high if the town elects to switch back in five years.

“Mr. Miceli, you are a great guy but try not to talk us into something we don’t want,” Paquette told the CAO.

Other residents also questioned the potential savings, including Chris Drew. He said Amherstburg could access extra services from the OPP, if necessary, and said he figures that Amherstburg has a more cost efficient service than Windsor.

“I consider this a slap in the face to the Amherstburg Police Service and its members,” said Drew.

Current Amherstburg police officers also had questions. Don Brown, an Amherstburg resident and a sergeant with the Amherstburg Police Service, asked a number of questions and also pointed out losing the chief means losing the “captain of the ship.

“The captain of the ship steers the direction of the service,” said Brown. “We will be losing the chief, the board and the captain of the ship. I want to make that point to the public.”

Const. Shawn McCurdy, president of the Amherstburg Police Association, admitted it has been a stressful time for them but told the public they can still expect the same level of service from the officers as they always had regardless of what happens.

Chris Gibb asked what costs the Amherstburg Police Service would face should the switch not happen. Amherstburg police chief Tim Berthiaume stated they face “infrastructure challenges” which include issues with their radio system. He is recommending replacement in 2019, should the switch to Windsor not happen, and that he hopes to spread the estimated $450,000 cost over five years.

“The Amherstburg Police Service has a healthy reserve,” Berthiaume added. “That’s why we created the reserve.”

Regarding their obligations under Bill 175, including whether they would be obligated to police waterways, Berthiaume said they are preparing for that should any requirements call for Amherstburg police to have to step up patrols on the water. He said they would patrol waterways with existing resources.

Responding to Gibb’s second question regarding access to the chief, deputy chief and police services board should a switch happen, Frederick said he hopes Berthiaume would be the “point person in the transition” as “we need this to work seamlessly and positively as possible.”

In presenting the proposal to the public, Miceli pointed out Amherstburg is a safe community but policing costs represent 23 per cent of the town’s operating budget. A Deloitte report recommendation was to seek shared opportunities that would reduce operating costs, said Miceli, with town council asking for confirmation that people were receiving “value for money” with the current service and examine other options for policing. Town council passed the original motion seeking police costings Dec. 15, 2014.

“Amherstburg has an excellent service,” said Miceli. “In no way is this exercise a reflection on the Amherstburg Police Service.”

Frederick said the Amherstburg Police Service offers a department that is “second to none” and “it’s not going to change” should a switch occur.

Miceli said that town council will make the decision Feb. 26 and told the public no verdict has been arrived at thus far.

Those in attendance to field questions at last Thursday night’s meeting in McGregor included (from left): consultant Mike Mitchell, CAO and JPAC chair John Miceli, Amherstburg police chief Tim Berthiaume, Windsor police chief Al Frederick, Windsor deputy chief Vince Power, Windsor police Supt. Brendan Dodd, and Windsor Staff Sgt. Ron LeClair.

“There has been no decision made yet on the policing issue,” he said. “We are going through the public meeting process to see what people want.”

Believing “there has been a lot of misinformation out there,” the CAO encouraged people to attend the public meetings, find out what is going on and provide input.

Mike Mitchell, consultant with MPM Consulting, called the RFP put out by the town as “one of the most comprehensive RFP’s I’ve ever seen.” LaSalle opted not to put in a bid with the OPP sending a letter, but no bid, in response to the RFP.

The Windsor Police Service would take over administrative duties with the only change residents seeing being the replacement of the chief and deputy chief with a senior officer, said Mitchell.

“The big issue is it is only the administration of Amherstburg police that will be handled in Windsor,” said Frederick. “The police service is going to be what it is today. We’re not going to have Windsor police officers responding to Priority 1 calls in Amherstburg.”

Frederick said Amherstburg police officers could stay in town “as long as they like.”

Findings of the JPAC committee included Windsor police proposal administering existing staff in existing organizational units, the continuation of service delivery, existing Amherstburg officers and staff “working exclusively” for Amherstburg, the town being able to keep the existing Amherstburg police station, police continuing to respond to all calls for service and “through the terms of the contract and membership on the Windsor Police Services board, effective, local control of policing in the town would continue.”

The Amherstburg mayor would become a voting member of the Windsor Police Services Board, should a switch occur.

The JPAC findings also said additional services like K-9, tactical, explosive disposal, forensic identification, collision reconstruction and other services could be added with a switch, Amherstburg would retain its current officers unless there is a promotional opportunity or disciplinary situation and the town would retain its police zone structure and would also maintain separate operational data for Amherstburg. The use of non-lethal shotguns would also be allowed to continue in Amherstburg.

In addition to an estimated $567,802 annually – or over $2.8 million over five years – the town’s post-retirement benefit liability of between $2.8 million to $3.9 million would be picked up by Windsor. Also pointed out as JPAC findings were the repurposing of $380,680 from a police reserve for “other municipal purposes” and that if the town doesn’t renew the contract with Windsor, useful assets would be returned to Amherstburg.

Frederick said Windsor is not trying to make money but sharing services would be beneficial to both municipalities.

“We’re not trying to make money,” said Frederick. “We’re trying to share resources for cheaper costs.”
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkins, who attended Wednesday night’s meeting at town hall, agreed there were some savings to be had.

“This is not about the City of Windsor making money,” said Dilkins.

Frederick also noted that if Amherstburg accepts the contract, the current collective agreement Amherstburg officers have would dissolve and officers would come under the Windsor police’s agreement and that Amherstburg officers would have to get up-to-speed on Windsor police’s policies.

Miceli said savings to Amherstburg taxpayers would amount to about $61 on an average household. He noted costs would be included in a contract, and pointed out the proposal is not an amalgamation of services but a contracting out of services.

“I have complete faith in the process,” the CAO added.

The third public meeting is this Thursday night (Jan. 25) at St. Peter’s ACHS College School, located at 6101 County Road 20, in Malden Centre. That meeting is scheduled from 6-8 p.m.

The fourth and final public meeting is this Saturday (Jan. 27) at the Libro Centre from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Amherstburg well represented among MP’s Canada 150 medal recipients



By Ron Giofu


Essex MP Tracey Ramsey recently awarded approximately 40 Canada 150 medals and Canada Sesquicentennial Pins to people from around the riding and Amherstburg was no exception.

Ramsey said the medals were to “incredible people of Essex (County) who have really inspired me. I knew they should be recognized for their efforts.”

Ramsey said that being the area’s Member of Parliament since 2015 has opened her eyes to all of the work taking place in the area.

Eleven-year-old Gabby Wilkinson of Amherstburg (left) was one of about 40 recipients of Canada 150 medals presented by Essex MP Tracey Ramsey.

“You can live here your whole life and not realize the work being done around us,” said Ramsey. “In the past two years I was able to meet and connect with incredible individuals who have inspired me. I have the wonderful opportunity to work with people in our communities who dedicate themselves every day by showing how much they care about their neighbours, making life better for all those around them.  I am honoured to be able to recognize them for their outstanding efforts to make our community a better place with these special symbols of Canada 150. I want to thank every recipient for their continued generosity of spirit that makes our riding of Essex and Canada the best place in the world to live.”

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (left) presents a Canada 150 medal to ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

Among the recipients was Gabby Wilkinson, a student at Amherstburg Public School. Wilkinson was six-years-old when she had problems in math class with patterns. She received help in making patterns and that led to her making bracelets.

From there, Wilkinson started selling the bracelets at an Alzheimer fundraiser in Windsor and raised $68. “Gabby’s Gifts” evolved out of that and the local youth continues to volunteer and sell treats, crafts as well as her bracelets for numerous local charities and causes, including helping the homeless.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (left) presents a Canada 150 medal to Amherstburg Freedom Museum board president Monty Logan.

“I was nervous and excited,” Wilkinson said about getting the award. “It was a nice surprise.”

Wilkinson is now 11-years-old and in her fifth year of helping others.

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission Tim McAllister was another local recipient. Born in Barbados, McAllister came to Canada and attended St. Clair College and became a welder. The married father of four worked in that field for several years before an auto accident involving a drunk driver cut his career short.

McAllister started volunteering with the mission with founders Andy and Pat Gervais and would eventually become president, a position he has held for the last 17 years. He is also a board member at Matthew House in Windsor. He has also won other numerous awards for his efforts.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (left) presents a Canada 150 medal to Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister.

“As president of the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission, I have found great pleasure in our motto ‘People Helping People’,” said McAllister. “I didn’t volunteer to receive this award but on behalf of my board of directors and volunteers, I do it with a humble and thankful heart. For all of those who volunteer and support the mission, I thank you.”

Kathy DiBartolomeo, executive director at Amherstburg Community Services (ACS), was another of the medal recipients. DiBartolomeo started volunteering with ACS in 2007 as a way to give back and to support the community. She worked her way up the ladder and by 2009, she had shown the skills and passion to become the executive director.

With DiBartolomeo at the helm, ACS is in the Amherstburg, McGregor, Harrow and LaSalle communities and assists thousands of people who are vulnerable, elderly or in need. She is also willing to volunteer her time to assist other organizations who need a helping hand.

“I am very honoured and humbled by this Canada 150 medal,” DiBartolomeo stated. “To be recognized for what you love to do is rewarding and gives me and my staff the encouragement to continue serving  our community.

Team Ontario – a group of Essex-Windsor EMS members who won back-to-back gold medals at the Ralleye Rejviz international paramedic competition – were honoured by Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (centre) with Canada 150 medals. Amherstburg native Lance Huver is second from left.

Monty Logan was also recognized with a Canada 150 medal and pin. Logan, president of the Amherstburg Freedom Museum’s board of directors, was elected to that position in 2012, after joining the board the previous year.

Logan has helped guide the museum through key strategic, infrastructure, programming and fundraising initiatives as well as a transformation from the former identity as the North American Black Historical Museum to the Amherstburg Freedom Museum. Two elements of the transformation are complete – the curated archive on the Underground Railroad and the Amherstburg Freedom Summit. The final component is the Amherstburg Freedom Institute, which will focus on promoting solutions to address social and economic challenges facing young people today.

“It’s awesome to be honoured for the work we do at the museum,” said Logan. “More importantly, it’s getting our name out there. It’s an honour to be recognized for the work we do.”

Several police officers were among the medal recipients, including Amherstburg police chief Tim Berthiaume. Berthiaume, who has spent his entire career in Amherstburg, was contacted by the RTT and he said he was happy to be recognized.

“I am honoured and humbled to be recipient of the Canada 150 Medal,” said Berthiaume.

Team Ontario, the group of Essex-Windsor EMS paramedics that won gold at the Rallye Rejviz international competition, was also honoured. EMS Team Ontario members Chris Kirwin, Shawn May, Lance Huver and Mike Filiault made up the 2017 team with Huver being an Amherstburg native.

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.

Rumble strips headed to Alma St./Howard Ave. intersection



By Ron Giofu


Both sides of Alma St. will feature rumble strips at the Howard Ave. intersection with the aim of improving safety in the area.

Councillor Leo Meloche brought the issue forward at the last town council meeting after having it addressed the intersection’s safety previously. Statistics were available at the most recent meeting from the Amherstburg Police Service.

“We average about an accident a year, sometimes none,” said Chief Tim Berthiaume. “I am working with Mr. (Mark) Galvin on improving safety in the area.”

Berthiaume suggested one measure could be flashing lights on the stop signs.

Mark Galvin is the town’s manager of planning, development and legislative services.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said statistics show that, between 2008-17, either there were no collisions at the Howard Ave./Alma St. intersection or there were none. The exception was 2015, when there were four collisions. Some of the accidents are rear-end collisions, he added.

“The data says it is not an excessive accident area,” said DiCarlo.

Galvin said they have to “peel the onion” and examine all factors in the accidents as well as determining whether there is commonality among the accidents. The solutions the town come up with should include measures that address the accidents that are actually happening.

The town resolved to ensure rumble strips are carved into the roadways on both sides of Alma St. to ensure drivers know they are approaching the intersection.

An two-vehicle accident in late-September at that rural intersection claimed the life of a 58-year-old Harrow woman.

Town of Amherstburg asks for review of Joint Powers Agreement



By Jolene Perron


A motion has been carried for the request from The Town of Amherstburg to review the 1994 Joint Powers Agreement, and administration will be contacting the county solicitor on how to proceed with the review.

In the 1990s, the approval of the creation and implementation of a centralized communication system, known as the 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone Reporting was created. The Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commissioner approved Bell Canada as the subscriber biller. Municipalities were responsible for providing the service, which would answer and transfer those 9-1-1 calls from the Bell lines through to the correct Remote Agency, which would then dispatch the emergency personnel.

“The Joint Powers Agreement gave the county the authority to enter into an agreement on behalf of all the joint parties for this central emergency reporting bureau,” explained Mary Birch, director of council services/clerk. “The county was billed, and then each municipality was billed based on their population. That agreement was most recently reviewed with the OPP December 13, 2015, which will last to December 12, 2020, at an annual cost, of $99,824.34 based on the residential population of 177,940.”

Birch explained, in June, a report went to Town of Amherstburg Police Chief Tim Berthiaume in regards to transferring the 9-1-1 call taking from the OPP to the Windsor Police Service. At that time, the resolutions included that transfer, and the Police Chief was directed to enter discussions with the county to terminate the agreement for the provision of 9-1-1 central emergency reporting bureau between the Ontario Provincial Police and the County of Essex.

Birch stated in her report “In July, 2017, a legal opinion was sought from County Solicitor Christine Riley, regarding implications on the Joint Powers Agreement and Agreement for CERB services with the OPP, if the Town of Amherstburg opted to terminate their participation. Ms. Riley indicated that: “Article 7 provides that no party can terminate or amend the Agreement except as provided in that section. Article 7(b)(i) states that ‘the parties may, by mutual agreement, amend or terminate this Agreement.’”

The county will be looking in to how to proceed.