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.

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