Amherstburg Police Services Board’s Decision Re Cheap Silver Police Retirement Badge

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Mayor DiCarlo confirmed that it was a Board decision to provide a cheap silver retirement badge to Sgt. Jim Saxon and he did anticipate it might be an issue. Nothing changed.

Two sets of badges were ordered – one in silver for all retiring officers in 2013/2014 and another in gold for everyone but Sgt. Saxon.

As of November 18, 2014, APSB members were John Sutton, Frank Cleminson, Pauline Gemmell and Wayne Hurst.

Also posted to bullyinginpolicing.com on the saxon page.

Police Promotions Probed At Human Rights Hearing

The Windsor Star reported Windsor Police Staff Sgt. Christine Bissonnette continued to lay out the parameters of her human rights’ complaint on Wednesday including allegations of gender bias, discrimination, ageism and harassment against senior ranks of the Windsor Police Service.

In response to the OCPC  investigation into Windsor Police, CBC News reported, “Complaints in the field [of policing] are inherent so I can’t say I’m surprised. The Town of Amherstburg​’s police force has had complaints. This is what happens in the business. We’d like to know what the complaints are and the details behind them,” DiCarlo said.

Regarding the same topic, the Windsor Star reported, “They are just complaints, Const. Shawn McCurdy, president of the Amherstburg Police Association, said Monday. “I bet if you went to every police service in the province, you’d find internal complaints.”

That’s right – discrimination, ageism, harassment, questionable hirings and promotions have occurred in Amherstburg, all of which are serious allegations. Shame on anyone who accepts them as the norm.

Retired Brentwood head implores council to end police “old boys’ club”

The Windsor Star reported Lawyer Dan Soulliere, former executive director of Brentwood Recovery Home, sent city councillors a letter last month imploring them to ask questions about the promotional system, leadership and oversight of the service. He said human rights complaints that triggered an investigation of the service underway by a provincial watchdog agency should give councillors reasons for concern.

Accessibility Issues With Candidates’ Websites 2018

Here we go again. Candidates want to reach as many voters as they can with their promises and platforms and are increasingly relying on social media to do so.

However, just like the previous campaign, there are website accessibility issues.

If so little thought is given to being inclusive, how will these candidates indicate their commitment to identifying, removing, and preventing barriers and comply with legislation?

Policing Decision Questions For Mayoral Candidates

Note: Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to publish this post until now.

On July 28, 2018, the following questions were sent to both mayoral candidates – Glenn Swinton responded on July 31; Aldo DiCarlo did not respond.

Administration did not carry out council’s December 2014 motion and direction to obtain an OPP costing.

Do you believe administration should have been held accountable for not carrying out council’s direction and not obtaining an OPP costing?

After researching and participating in the processes used in the policing issue, I would suggest that much of the “direction” administration followed was ordered not by council but rather the town’s CAO. The objective was to find costing from the O.P.P. and area police services. This was not adequately attempted. I will  maintain that administration ought to have pursued the O.P.P., Lasalle and Windsor costing regardless of the service inclusions being offered, then provided an unbiased assessment of the differences between the three available service providers, outlining any deficiencies/savings. The RFP as it was design chased away Lasalle and was an unacceptable process to the O.P.P.. We refused to submit to O.P.P. under their province wide, designated format they require, then negotiated and tailored the RFP to accommodate Windsor. Yes, I firmly believe the head of our administration and those acting within his helm should be held accountable for not adequately equipping our council on this issue.

Administration did not carry out council’s January 2017 motion and direction to work with the OPP on the OPP costing.

Do you believe administration should have been held accountable for not carrying out council’s direction and for not working with the OPP?

*Please see my answer above.

Public consultation was recommended prior to the issuing of an RFP Police Services in the OACP Guidelines CAO Miceli relied on. The RTT reported CAO Miceli said he wanted to solicit information from the public before an RFP was issued, “That, to me, is the critical driver.”

Do you believe the public should have had an opportunity to provide input on the community’s policing needs before the RFP was issued?

It is likely difficult for the average citizen to effectively determine the policing requirements of a community. However, public input should always, at the very least, be considered.  CAO Miceli should have applied greater emphasis on the information received from those directly involved in the current day to day operations at the Amherstburg Police Services, as they would have the best knowledge of the towns actual needs. From the JPAC meetings that I attended, it was evident that the input of Chief Berthiuame was often discounted by the JPAC chair.

The Ontario Ombudsman concluded that the JPAC and council contravened the Municipal Act when they met in camera to discuss the RFP.

Do you believe the process was transparent? Why?

I do not believe the process was transparent. In full disclosure, please know that one of the complaints filed to the Ombudsman that ended with a noted contravention was in fact from me. There is a limited scope of topics that are required to happen in camera. Outside of that realm, any member of the public that makes time to attend, deserves the benefit of inclusion.

Mayor DiCarlo advised me the OPP and Windsor responses would be made public after the consultant and steering committee reviewed the responses and council received the reports. The Windsor Police Service has denied access to the proposal in its entirety in response to my FOI request.

Do you agree that the Windsor Proposal should have been kept from the public?

No. There are definite and clear discrepancies within the initial proposal that would lay proof to the fact that the projected savings is un-attainable or at the very least, far from accurate. There are clauses that give monetary advantages to the WPS, such as the transfer of registered assets for a monetary registration fee for insurance purposes. This in itself should be viewed as a loss since it translates to this: If our squad cars for example were valued at $50,000 EACH (estimate number for ease of use), we will be transferring them to the WPS for a $1 registration fee. (The typical “monetary value” used between government agencies) Vehicles that are budgeted to be replaced in 2018 must still be replaced before the contract takes effect. So essentially, we will be handing over $49,999 to Windsor in just one of our vehicles. These simple clauses that the public is shielded from will result in expenditures that we will have to eat over and above the contract’s initiation fee of $1M. Or perhaps that clause that indicates that the Windsor Police Services have not noted any renovations or upgrades to be required to the existing building BUT if they do, these costs will be transferred to the taxpayers of the Town of Amherstburg? No indication of limitations or monetary caps of any kind. This is just two of many examples. Do I believe that allthe public would benefit from viewing the proposal, probably not. BUT there are many in this town that will change their opinion of my findings if they could.

The Amherstburg Police Services Board agreed to severances in the 2017 – 2019 Amherstburg Police collective agreement whether OPP or any other service policed the community.

Do you believe officers are entitled to severances despite no job losses as stated?

Severances are still left to be disputed. Despite any opinion one way or the other, labour disputes are often a complicated and expensive legal matter. One that again, will be carried by Amherstburg taxpayers. To my knowledge, this issue has not been resolve as of my authoring of this response; even though an apparent contract has been drafted and approved in efforts to beat a lame duck council. I believe our officers should exercise caution in this area to ensure that any credit for years of service, as it relates to severance are transferred to any new position with the Windsor Police Services. I would hate to see any officer (or office staff) with years of service in Amherstburg, walked out the front door of the WPS headquarters after a few weeks without any severance which they may have waved on the promise of a position elsewhere. Because the Amherstburg Police Services will be abolished rather than amalgamate with Windsor, each APS employee will likely be recorded as terminated from Amherstburg with a new start date in Windsor of January 1 2019. The only exception I have noted is with respect to “benefits” which takes into account years of service. Severance, or termination pay is not considered a benefit.

An exercise that was to compare all policing options, benefit the ratepayers financially, and preserve local governance transformed into an unprecedented process that excluded the OPP from participating, did not result in optimal savings, forfeited governance, restricted future decision making and resulted in a continuation of the status quo.

Do you believe the Windsor option is in the best interest of Amherstburg ratepayers? Why?

No, I do not. I believe that it is irresponsible to suggest that this process can be reversed in five years if we so desire. I would suggest that our ever developing, continually growing population will also be met with an evolving requirement for policing services. To base a 20 year prediction of savings on todays policing needs, is unrealistic and plain unreliable. We should consider that this proposal is putting the tax payers of Amherstburg at risk of being hit in the near future with a decision of either accepting basic “adequate and effective” policing that fits the payment plan or accepting the elevated per capita rates taxpayers in the city of Windsor currently pay for the services which they own. The only savings that can be verified for certain is the salary of our Chief and Deputy Chief which are said to be transferring onto Windsor’s payroll. A savings that Windsor taxpayers may have yet to realize, is thanks to them.

OCPC Decision On Policing Due By End Of August

The then-OCCPS approved the 1999 amalgamation of the new Amherstburg police and the three patrol zones on the one condition that no changes were to be made without the written permission of OCCPS.

By 2010, the three patrol zones were reduced to two and Amherstburg Police Chief Berthiaume was tight-lipped about deployment in the previous year citing the release of this information could reasonably be expected to make their work more dangerous in many situations endangering the life or physical safetly of our law enforcement officers.

The year had already passed so how very unlikely that addressing accountability would have endangered anyone.

OCPC has now approved Windsor’s proposal to provide only two patrol zones.

The Commission has advised its decision regarding the Town’s application to disband the Amherstburg police services will deal with the changes to the policing in Amherstburg since the Commission’s previous decision.

The full decision with reasons will be provided by the end of August.

Policing Promises Not Kept

Policing costs were a hot topic in 2014 and a then-newly elected council was committed to comparing all policing options, which would have been the most fiscally responsible course of action.

As posted in How Then-Candidate Aldo DiCarlo Answered About OPP Costingthen-Mayoral candidate Aldo DiCarlo answered theburgwatch questions from residents, stating, in part:

“What I can say, what I know, is that the current board didn’t do their due diligence in acquiring the information for us to make an educated decision on what would be best for the town…information that would have been ‘free’. I would definitely acquire this information, if given the chance, and then work with the appropriate parties to achieve what’s best for the Town, or more importantly, what the Town feels is best for them.

I have recently been corrected on who is required to request the costing for OPP. I am told that the OPP costing must be requested by Council, not the Police Board. The rest of my position remains the same. There has been numerous years to request OPP costing by Council, of which there was no cost to the Town.”

Mayor DiCarlo was given the chance but did not acquire the information despite counciI’s two motions directing Administration to obtain an OPP costing and work with the OPP on the costing. Those two motions were neither implemented nor rescinded.

The Windsor Star quoted Mayor Aldo DiCarlo on the rebranding, “As much as we want to keep everything local, it has to be a competitive process,” said DiCarlo.

The police costing process should have been just as competitive to achieve the optimal savings for the ratepayers that was promised during the 2014 election campaign.

As for the assurances that all current Amherstburg officers will remain except the chief and deputy chief, no one knows how many officers will stay in Amherstburg and forego career opportunities in Windsor.

Maintaining the status quo, other than the top two hierarchical positions, superseded the promise to compare options and realize optimal savings.

Commentary by Linda Saxon

Policing In Amherstburg Still A Hot Topic

The Windsor Star article, Amherstburg residents will get a referendum on policing after all reported on the positions of Mayoral candidates DiCarlo and Swinton:

Swinton doesn’t think the majority of residents wanted to contract out policing and he’s concerned costs will rise in the long run and the town won’t be able to do anything about it.

“You can’t effectively predict a cost savings on policing needs on a community that’s growing and expanding.”

DiCarlo said the cost of policing was a big issue when he was campaigning for mayor in 2014. He said the service level will remain the same, with all the current Amherstburg officers remaining with the exception of the chief and deputy chief.

Frank Cleminson To Appeal OCPC Approval Of Windsor Police Take-over

am800 reported FORMER AMHERSTBURG POLICE BOARD CHAIR SPEAKS OUT.

Frank Cleminson says the decision should have happened after the OCPC finished its investigation into the Windsor Police Service.

Between January and April of this year the OCPC says it received complaints from members of Windsor Police Service that raised serious concerns about the workplace environment, the administration, and the oversight provided by the Windsor Police Services Board.