Windsor Police Service

Mayor looks back on 2017, looks ahead to 2018

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The new year is upon us and there were positives and negatives from the year that has just ended, says the town’s mayor.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said that 2017 was a good one but it had its ups and downs as well.

“I think, overall, it was a good balance of successes and challenges,” said DiCarlo. “I think we’ve done well with the waterfront development acquisitions, we had the fibre (internet) announcement and I think the budget confirmed our financial restraint and investment.”

DiCarlo believes the town did a good job of walking the “fine line of paying down debt and increasing amenities that should keep people in town.”

Regarding the Belle Vue and Duffy’s property projects, DiCarlo said he has heard positive and negative responses from residents but acknowledged, “it’s impossible to keep everyone happy” and that council is trying to work for residents and address the needs of the community. He said many people want the Duffy’s property available for public use as soon as possible and “hopefully we can make progress on that” in 2018.

The town did make progress in 2017, the mayor stated.

“We’ve definitely moved forward again,” he said. “That’s my belief. At the end of the day, it always comes down to what the residents think. As long as we can maintain the balance of moving forward, which I think we did (in 2017), we’re in good shape.”

DiCarlo said 2018 could be “another year of challenges,” and the first one on the radar is the policing issue. The town will be hosting four public meetings later this month to discuss the proposal from Windsor police, one that forecasts a $567,000 annual savings to the town.

“That is obviously going to be a big decision we have to deal with,” said DiCarlo. “I’ve definitely heard from a broad demographic of residents on this particular issue. There are people on both sides and plenty of people in the middle waiting to hear what is said at the public meetings.”

The location of the new public high school by the Greater Essex County District School Board is expected at some point, and DiCarlo said that is good news. While noting that not everyone will be happy with the new location, he believes that the new public high school will be positive for the town.

“Everyone is asking where it is going and when it will be built,” said DiCarlo, adding that timelines suggest that the announcement could come soon.

Other development is tied to the school announcement, he suggested, and that more news could be revealed shortly after the location is revealed. While much of that development hasn’t been publicly revealed as of yet, the seniors hub development proposed for the former St. Bernard School appears to be one of them. The town and Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board are headed for arbitration over the building’s value as the town wants to acquire it.

DiCarlo said the town is committed to serving the senior population and that he is hopeful the dispute over the building can be resolved.

“We’re going to go through legal channels there to mediate some sort of solution,” he said.

Much of the plans for future development is hinged on one another, he said, and that “there are a lot of synergies to projects now.” He said fewer projects are done in isolation.

“I think that’s going to translate into success in the long run,” said DiCarlo.

The town remains focused on a hotel, he added, and that the rollout of the fibre internet should occur in 2018. The town will also continue to pay down debt and continue to invest in the community, with DiCarlo stating the goal of the latter being to do so with cash the town already has.

The mayor said there is some “misconception” as it pertains to the town’s debt, which has been brought down from $44 million to approximately $38 million over the last few years. While it has come down “millions,” DiCarlo said much of the debt is locked in and can’t be paid down faster than what it already is.

This year is an election year and DiCarlo said the town could be impacted if and when the current council achieves “lame duck” status.

“While we tackle everything we have to deal with, things have to be in the perspective of what happens with the election,” he said. “If we become a lame duck council, we’ll have to put the issues on hold and we would not be able to deal with them.”

The municipal election is Oct. 22 and the nomination period opens May 1 and ends July 27 at 2 p.m.

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.

Public meetings on Windsor police proposal set

The town has announced the dates and times of the public meetings that will be held in relation to the possibility of switching from the Amherstburg Police Service to the Windsor Police Service.

The proposal from the Windsor Police Service, deemed “viable” by the Joint Police Advisory Committee and town council, will be the subject of four public meetings in January.

The town announced that the first meeting will be Jan. 17 at Amherstburg town hall from 6-8 p.m. The second public meeting will be in McGregor Jan. 18 at the K of C Hall at 9560 Walker Road, also from 6-8 p.m.

The third meeting is planned for Jan. 25 at St. Peter’s ACHS College School, located at 6101 County Road 20 from 6-8 p.m.

The fourth and final public meeting is planned for the Libro Centre Jan. 27 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Barring any delays or deferrals, the decision is expected to be made at the Feb. 26 town council meeting.

Windsor police proposal deemed “viable,” public meetings to come

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The police costing process is moving ahead as town council has agreed with the Joint Police Advisory Committee (JPAC) that the Windsor Police Service (WPS) is “viable.”

As the Windsor Police Service ended up being the only service that actually submitted a bid under the town’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for policing services, it was the lone option discussed at Monday night’s town council meeting. CAO John Miceli, a member of the JPAC, believed there are “significant savings” for the town should they opt to switch from the Amherstburg Police Service (APS) to WPS.

Miceli said the proposal satisfies the provisions the town set out for its police service. The CAO reported to council that the town could save $567,802 per year should a switch occur, which would translate into over $2.8 million over five years.

There would also be the elimination of post-retirement liabilities, which currently sit at $3.9 million. Miceli added the town would be able to re-purpose $380,580 from the police reserve for other municipal purposes and that there would be cost containment going forward.

“The Windsor Police Services’ proposal is viable and meets the requirements of the RFP and Joint Police Advisory Committee,” he said.

The positions of chief and deputy chief would be eliminated and there would be a staff sergeant looking after the current Amherstburg officers. Miceli indicated that Tim Berthiaume and Ian Chappell could be reassigned within Windsor police. There would be opportunities for promotion for some officers as well, he indicated.

“For our residents, faces aren’t going to change. There would just be a different reporting structure,” said Miceli.

Vehicles would be assumed by the Windsor Police Service “wherever possible” and most equipment would be as well except body cameras and non-lethal shotguns. Reintroduction of body cameras down the road is possible if WPS’ tests are positive.

Administrative calls would still be handled by existing civilian members at the Amherstburg police station.

Should a switch be made, the current Amherstburg Police Service and Amherstburg Police Services Board would be disbanded with the mayor or a designate being appointed to the Windsor Police Services Board.

Four public meetings are scheduled for different locations within Amherstburg Jan. 17, 18, 25 and 27, with most being evening meetings. The Jan. 27 meeting is proposed to be held in late morning or early afternoon on a Saturday. The CAO indicated that Berthiaume, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Windsor police chief Al Frederick, consultant Mike Mitchell as well as himself would be at the meetings to answer questions.

Miceli believed the town could benefit from additional services and units offered by WPS, and noted that current Amherstburg officers as well as Windsor officers would help out at public events.

DiCarlo said that residents can expect a detailed analysis of the Windsor police proposal, adding they can compare directly with what is currently available with the Amherstburg Police Services.

The mayor indicated there is a lot of information to discuss and the public meetings will help the town and residents talk more in-depth about the proposal.

Noting he was qualifying his statement that he was not advocating one service over the other, DiCarlo said the WPS proposal was significant in different areas. Windsor police addressed “every last detail” in the RFP and while cost savings are not as much as some people are looking for, he noted the town will keep the existing Amherstburg police station.

“If we ever wanted to go back (should a switch be made), we still have a building,” said the mayor.

The offer to take over long-term liabilities and benefits was pointed out by DiCarlo, noting the $3.9 million will likely grow in future years due to people living longer, insurance and inflation.

“In simple terms, the one nice thing about this is whether you agree or not, we’re comparing apples to apples,” said DiCarlo.

Miceli indicated a final decision could be made by council as early as Feb. 26.

Amherstburg police and Windsor police explosive disposal unit dispose of military flare

 

The Amherstburg Police Service states that a resident on Front Road South reported a discarded flare that showed up on the beach last weekend.

Police were called to the area around 3:45 p.m. Saturday for the call of a discarded flare that had washed up on a beach. According to police, the flare was labelled as a military flare that contained phosphorus and instructions on the flare stated to contact police or military if found.

Amherstburg police state the resident contacted them, with Amherstburg police attending the scene and subsequently contacting the Windsor Police Service’s explosive disposal unit.

The explosive disposal unit attended and ignited the flare on the beach, allowing it to burn out safely.

Amherstburg police state that phosphorus can be very dangerous if not handled properly. It is self-igniting and burns very hot. If a member of the public should come across something similar, please do

not hesitate to contact police (9-1-1, or non-emergency 519-736-3622).