Windsor Police Service

New officer in charge vows policing services will stay the same for the public

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Now that policing in Amherstburg has switched from being the Amherstburg Police Service to the Windsor Police Service – Amherstburg Detachment, the new person leading Amherstburg officers vows the service residents will see will be consistent to what has always been here.

Staff Sgt. Dave DeLuca, the officer in charge of the Amherstburg Detachment – said there is still training for officers and civilian staff to do but indicated much of the hard work is now behind them.

“All of the heavy lifting was over the last couple of months,” he said, noting he was part of 13 committees that prepared for the dissolving of the Amherstburg Police Service and the welcoming of officers in Amherstburg to the Windsor Police Service.

Transitioning policing from one service to another was “a massive undertaking,” said DeLuca, but what is left is mostly training on the administrative side of the Windsor Police Service.

“We’re taking over the administration of the service,” said DeLuca. “Service delivery is identical. Nothing is changing at all.”

DeLuca said there will still be 31 officers based in Amherstburg, counting himself, and that Amherstburg has access to different Windsor police units such as forensics and K-9 units. Four officers from Amherstburg went to Windsor with one being a patrol officer, one going to the training branch, a third going into court services with a fourth officer becoming the regional cannabis enforcement officer.

“We have six Windsor officers being assigned out here and they are all going to be uniformed patrol,” said DeLuca, adding that two officers from the former Amherstburg Police Service have been promoted to sergeant with the Windsor Police Service – Amherstburg Detachment.

Staff Sgt. Dave DeLuca is the officer in charge of the Windsor Police Service – Amherstburg Detachment.

The remainder of the service stays the same, he indicated, and pledged that service levels will remain the same.

“In Amherstburg, you will always get an officer to every call,” said DeLuca. “It stays 100 per cent exactly as it’s always been. You will get an officer out, just as you’ve always had.”

DeLuca added he is happy with how everyone seems to be settling in and believes much of the concern over the past year was due to uncertainty of what exactly was going to transpire.

“Now that all of the questions have been answered, everyone seems to be settling in really, really well,” said DeLuca.

There may be some services online soon, such as the ability to get police clearances and signing up for the vulnerable persons registry, but DeLuca described those as enhancements and emphasized that officers will still come out to call and work on the same schedules.

DeLuca was born and raised in Amherstburg and continues to live here and raise his family.

Windsor chief Al Frederick (right) was on hand for the swearing in of the Amherstburg officers Jan. 1, including Sgt. Don Brown. (Photo courtesy of the Windsor Police Service)

“I couldn’t be happier to work in town. It’s great,” he said.

The Windsor Police Service – Amherstburg Detachment continues to work out of the office at 532 Sandwich St. S. and DeLuca said the same phone numbers will remain. The number for non-emergency calls remains at 519-736-3622, general inquiries is 519-736-8559 and emergency calls to 911.

DeLuca believes that Windsor police will provide quality service to Amherstburg residents.

“Give us a chance,” said DeLuca. “I think they are going to be pleasantly surprised, especially with the enhancements that are coming. If the town is serious about growth, this is a step in the right direction. We are not taking anything away. Things are not changing.”

The switchover came at midnight Jan. 1, with DeLuca, Windsor Chief Al Frederick and other officials from Windsor on hand to swear in the Amherstburg officers under the Windsor police banner.

Windsor Police appoints Officer in Charge for Amherstburg Detachment

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

There will be a new face at the helm when the Windsor Police Service takes over policing duties in town Jan. 1.

The Windsor Police Service announced last Friday that the Officer In Charge of the Amherstburg Detachment, effective January 1, 2019, will be Staff Sergeant Dave DeLuca.

According to a media release issued Friday afternoon by Windsor police, “Staff Sergeant DeLuca is a lifelong Amherstburg resident who knows the community and has a first-hand understanding of their concerns and expectations.”

Since being hired as a cadet in 1995, DeLuca has worked in many areas of the Windsor Police Service, including patrol division, forensic identification branch, drug enforcement branch, street crimes unit, domestic violence, internet child exploitation unit, and most recently, the special projects unit as he works toward the transition for the Amherstburg Detachment.

Staff Sgt. Dave DeLuca will be in charge of Windsor police’s Amherstburg detachment as of Jan. 1.

The Windsor Police Service states that it “is looking forward to working together with the residents of the Town of Amherstburg with the goal of public safety. We are committed to working together to prevent and investigate crime, and provide support to those in need.”

“It is a privilege to be chosen as the Officer in Charge of the new Amherstburg Detachment of the Windsor Police Service and to be part of this milestone moment for the town of Amherstburg. I look forward to the opportunity to work in my hometown and continue the tradition of exceptional police service that the residents have come to expect and enjoy,” said DeLuca.

The Town of Amherstburg signed the contract with the Windsor Police Service last month. It is for 20 years with it being reviewable every five years.

Tim Berthiaume, the current Amherstburg police chief, says WPS have offered him employment in Windsor at the rank of Superintendent commencing July 1.

“My plan, for now, is to accept the offer and work in Windsor,” Berthiaume stated.

 

 

 

Job offers to Amherstburg police officers delayed

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Job offers to Amherstburg police officers were delayed, but it does not appear the delay will be a long one.

Offers from the Windsor Police Service were scheduled to come out last Saturday but now appear to be coming this week instead. Const. Shawn McCurdy, president of the Amherstburg Police Association (APA), said the delay was “for a short period of time” and that was all they were told.

“We received a memo from (Windsor police) Chief Frederick outlining that,” he said.

According to McCurdy, “there was a scheduled job offer and that has been delayed at the request of Mayor DiCarlo.”

McCurdy told the RTT last Thursday that they were scheduled to receive an update yesterday.

“From the information we’re receiving, there’s a disagreement as it relates to severance and the understanding of the arbitrator’s decision,” said McCurdy. “From the association’s perspective, we’re not sure what the disagreement is. We’re quite clear on what it means. Our position is we’re entitled to severance and that has been our position.”

Members who elect not to take a position with the Windsor Police Service would receive four weeks for every year of service, he said. McCurdy added it’s a decision for each individual member to make but he expects most officers to take the offer.

“I am going to accept a position with Windsor. I am not going to accept severance,” said McCurdy. “A majority of employees will be accepting positions. It’s common sense. We can’t go without a job.”

McCurdy noted that he sat on the Joint Police Advisory Committee (JPAC) and that the possibility of severance has existed since last December. He said they are bound by the Police Services Act that all officers would have to have the same collective agreement.

“That’s what this struggle is all about,” he said.

McCurdy added they do not want to dispute anything in the media, and that the APA deals with the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB).

“That’s who we are going to deal with to resolve this matter,” he said.

“Windsor police has been more than accommodating and professional with us,” McCurdy continued. “This has nothing to do with their side.”

APSB chair Bob Rozankovic confirmed that “offers were delayed but are being delivered to APS this Tuesday and Thursday. The board had not been told why they were delayed. Possibly Town Administration can answer that.”

Rozankovic added that “once formal offers are received, then the process can move forward.”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo stated last Friday that he cannot legally discuss any police issues at the current time. He added he could not confirm any issues relating to severance including whether Frederick contacted local officers.

At one of the two hotel announcements the previous week, the mayor stated that severance may only come into play if an Amherstburg officer is asked to take less to stay employed.

“The language in the collective agreement is referred to in the decision. If the town does not equalize or provide equal rank compensation salary, then the severances would kick in,” DiCarlo told the media after the second of two hotel announcements Oct. 19. “We maintain the position if we equalize everything between the two contracts, there would be no severances.”

DiCarlo also stated Oct. 19 that there will be $14-$15 million in savings over the 20-year contract and that there would be savings for the town “no matter what,” even if severances had to be paid out.

 

 

 

Amherstburg-Windsor police switch sparks protest

 

 

By Christian Bouchard

 

The town’s much debated switch to the Windsor Police Service reached a conclusion last Friday, sparking a protest.

A group of about 12 protestors rallied to town hall in support of the Amherstburg police this past Sunday.

Lisa Scott, an advocate for the Amherstburg police helped organise the protest because of the decision to merge with the Windsor Police service.

“We do not want this deal with Windsor at all,” said Scott. “It’s not going to save us money, it’s going to cost us money. Why fix what’s not broken?”

According to Scott, the taxpayers did ask to find a way to save money, however she believes there were other ways to save.

Among the many areas Scott noted the town could save money were not hiring 14 new people at town hall, not buying the Duffy’s property, not buying Bellevue and not buying St. Bernard’s school. Scott claims there were other places town council could have found money to save taxpayers money without touching an essential service.

A group of protesters gather to voice their concerns with the policing switch to Windsor.

“We don’t want to lose our Amherstburg police, we want them to stay,” said Scott. “Most of them will probably stay but we’re still going to have to pay a severance.”

In Scott’s perfect world, Amherstburg police service would be left alone. The town would be looking at employees benefit packages to find a way where they can find benefits for “a little bit less”, do some wage freezes and not hire 14 new people in town hall.

Also noted on the long list of concerns was whether Amherstburg would receive the same level of service and how much more it would cost.

Scott expressed her frustration with Amherstburg doing all the spending and questioned where Windsor is spending its money.

“We all know at the end of five years if Windsor decides to continue with us, they aren’t going to do it for free,” said Scott. “We’re going to pay and we’re going to pay big.”

The 20-year contract will be eligible for review every five years and either Windsor or Amherstburg could pull out of the deal with 18 months notice. The contract is set to take place Jan. 1.

Town, APSB in disagreement over severance package issue

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Members of the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB) and the town, led by Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, are in an apparent dispute after a decision was released regarding an arbitration hearing last Thursday.

The hearing was held in Toronto before arbitrator Larry Steinberg and involved members of the APSB as well as the Amherstburg Police Association and was held last Wednesday.

The decision, released the next morning, has the town and the APSB at different ends of the spectrum. According to DiCarlo, the decision did not suggest that Amherstburg police officers could simply leave and walk away with the money. Officers could receive four weeks for every year of service in severance but DiCarlo indicated that severance may only come into play if an Amherstburg officer is asked to take less to stay employed.

“The language in the collective agreement is referred to in the decision. If the town does not equalize or provide equal rank compensation salary, then the severances would kick in,” DiCarlo told the media after the second of two hotel announcements last Friday.

DiCarlo referred to the provision that reads: “In the event that the Board receives permission to disband the Service and contracts policing out to another police service, other than the Ontario Provincial Police, or amalgamates with another police service, any member of the Association who is not offered the same or higher rank or classification level without loss or seniority and an equivalent or improved salary and benefits package, as provided in Article 34.02(a), (b) and (c), or the member may elect to accept the position offered at the lower rank or classification and lower salary, in which case the board shall pay to the member the difference in salary provided in this Agreement and the salary received in the new position, for a period of two (2) years.”

“We maintain the position if we equalize everything between the two contracts, there would be no severances,” said DiCarlo.

DiCarlo touted the position that there will be $14-$15 million in savings over the 20-year contract and that there would be savings for the town “no matter what,” even if severances had to be paid out.

The arbitrator ruled that a “line-by-line approach must be conducted separately for each salary and benefits” and “I am of the opinion that the reference to ‘benefits’ includes all benefits in the collective agreement and not simply health and welfare benefits.”

The decision adds that: “In addition to the core dispute between the parties, it should be noted that the Association agreed in the event an employee elects to accept a position with the City of Windsor with inferior salary and benefits, the two-year salary top up referred to in the collective agreement only applies to salary and not benefits. The Association specifically reserved its right, however, to argue that the meaning of salary goes beyond the annual salaries in the collective agreements.”

Councillor Jason Lavigne, who is a member of the APSB, noted that the town can have the position it wants but it’s the board that handles severances. He believed there was “a lot of negativity and misinformation directed at the board” but the board has done “everything above board and on par.”

Lavigne believed DiCarlo has taken several positions on the issue while the APSB has always maintained the position there was a chance for anywhere from $0-$2.4 million in severances.

“We hired an out-of-town, very highly regarded law firm that specializes in police negotiations,” said Lavigne.

Lavigne questioned where the money would come from to cover severances, something that Rozankovic noted would have to come in one lump sum payment.

“We’re very confused with the conflicting statements coming out of town hall,” said Lavigne.

Rozankovic stated the arbitrator’s decision shows there is a 99.9 per cent “likelihood” that the town could be exposed to up to $2.4 million in severances.

“This has been knowledge here since the Feb. 26 council meeting. They were told then that there was a chance of $0-$2.4-million worth of severances. It was only a chance then but now, it’s a very severe likelihood, but again, not certain.”

Officers will begin getting job offers Oct. 27 and will have two weeks to consider them. Rozankovic believes there are about four to six that may not accept the offers.

Lavigne said they are not dealing in “conspiracy theories or innuendos,” that they are dealing with, stressing that it is “public knowledge.”

“It’s been misrepresented to the public,” he believed. “In my opinion, that has to with politics and not much to do with good governance.”

Lavigne also questioned the recent meeting regarding an alleged in-camera leak, believing it to be “smoke and mirrors” as the issue regarding police severances is that of the board and not council to begin with.

Rozankovic, the APSB chair, said the board has dealt with matters throughout the entire process with honesty and integrity.

“I am so proud of this board and the association that has had a lot of stress this year,” he said.

Lavigne didn’t believe council listened to the people during the process of switching to Windsor police and dismissed any notion of a “silent majority.” He said most polls, comments and information he heard opposed the switch.

“Democracy doesn’t work by listening to the silent majority,” he said. “I’ve been out there. Show me the silent majority.”

Rozankovic and Lavigne, both election candidates for deputy mayor and councillor respectively, say they are simply speaking the facts.

“People can say we’re playing politics but we’re telling the truth,” said Rozankovic.

Rozankovic compared the process to being “a square peg being forced into a round hole no matter what.”

Lavigne also questioned the morale that Amherstburg officers will have, adding that the town needs to get this issue over with and move forward. Both he and Rozankovic praised the Amherstburg officers and the training they received.

“This is a life decision for our officers,” Lavigne said, of the offers from Windsor police.

Rozankovic acknowledged the recent hotel announcements and believed the news of the arbitration hearing unfortunately came at the same time as those announcements.