Mayor DiCarlo Pleased With Windsor Police

Blackburn News reports how pleased Mayor DiCarlo is with the Windsor Police takeover.

DiCarlo is quoted in this article, “We have access to a lot of services that we never did before. Obviously Windsor Police is a much bigger operation with a lot more to offer,” said DiCarlo.

Have we not always had access to a lot of services?

It was my understanding that since the Amherstburg Police Services Board was obliged to provide adequate and effective policing we either had all the services that were required or had access to them through the OPP and/or Windsor.

Obviously, the OPP is an even bigger operation that also has a lot to offer but no OPP costing was obtained for comparison sake.

While the article also mentioned, “the town realized a half a million dollars in savings by switching over to the Windsor Police Service,” we never knew if we might have saved significantly more through a switch to the OPP.  After all, one of the corrective actions listed in the Deloitte Report 2014 was, “look for shared service opportunities with neighbouring municipalities,” which could have easily meant to share OPP policing with the majority of Essex County.

Windsor Police Human Rights Complaints

Jason Viau, CBC news reported, Windsor police among forces with highest number of human rights complaints in Ontario.

According to the article, Retired constable John Boyle blames the Windsor Police Service for ongoing financial struggles and mental health issues after getting hurt on the job, claiming he was then discriminated against due to his disability.

Boyle is one of the 28 human rights complaints filed against Windsor police between 2008 to 2018. That puts Windsor among the top police forces with the highest number of complaints per capita, according to numbers obtained by CBC News through the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

“It felt almost like a personal vendetta against me or that they were out to get me and push me out,” said Boyle. “I wasn’t trying to be unreasonable. I just needed some help.”

Totally relatable.

Regional Policing Planned – Why?

CBC reported, Windsor police merging beyond Amherstburg ‘should be coming’, says chief.

The article includes, “We were late to the party at this end of the province. In the GTA and most geographic areas around the province, the idea of regional policing has been well-entrenched and has been successful for many years,” said Frederick.

I disagree.

There are only 6 regional police services in the province; the majority of communities are policed by the OPP and even some amalgamated communities switched to OPP to realize savings.

According to a 2018 TVO article, Contracting with the Windsor police service won’t produce as great a saving as contracting with the OPP. Currently, the Amherstburg service costs each of its households $658 a year. A five-year contract with the Windsor proposal would drop that cost to just under $600 a year. (And a contract with Windsor would produce some other savings for the municipality, adds DiCarlo, such as $3 million for the Amherstburg police’s long-term benefit costs.) By way of comparison, in 2014, Lewis estimated the OPP per household cost to be $360.

In 2015 CTV reported, No tangible benefit to municipal amalgamation: report.

Another study, Amalgamation of Police Services by John Kiedrowski, Ronald-Frans Melchers, Michael Petrunik, Rick Ruddell concluded, “The majority of studies focused on economies of scale also suggest, however, that there are limited or no cost efficiencies associated with larger municipal police departments (i.e., those policing more than 50,000 inhabitants).”

I have yet to find research indicating regionalization saves money.

Edited to add: The Star’s View: Regional police no cure for costs: Regional policing should be studied, although the likelihood of Essex County’s six towns agreeing to it are extremely low – as is the likelihood of a regional force saving any money.

Windsor Staff Sgt. Refers To “Blue Code Of Silence”

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario continued to hear Staff Sgt. Christine Bissonnette’s allegations regarding her not being promoted to Inspector.

The Windsor Star article includes, ‘A “blue code of silence” exists in the Windsor police department which repeatedly blocked her path to reach the administrative ranks of the upper echelon, a female officer with 31 years experience testified.’

“She alleged after obtaining documents related to the oral and written interview process, scores by the three-member interview team for the various candidates on various pages were either fixed to be the same, missing or changed afterwards.”

Bullying In Policing was created in 2002 to raise awareness about such incidents.

Councillor Meloche Responds To Questions About OPP Costing

Councillor Meloche’s response:

Given that you directed an inquiry to all Council members, I will comment.
I concur with the Mayor’s comments in his response to you.

In my discussion with residents, the OPP costing model was of concern because it was difficult to quantify the level of policing they would provide. A member of the Essex Town Council even told me directly that we should not expect the same level of policing with the OPP. In the end, their model did not fit our requirements as set out in our RFP and therefore made the decision to decline our RFP. Windsor Police on the other hand were accommodating to the level of service we were seeking.

I trust you have received satisfactory responses to your questions.

Editor’s Note: Then- candidate Meloche never answered any of the burgwatch questions from residents during the 2014 campaign regarding the OPP costing. Actually, the decision to decline the RFP was based on a Ministry approved protocol. Would it not have been more prudent for an elected representative to meet with the OPP to dispel myths instead of being influenced by opinion?

Mayor DiCarlo Responds To Questions About OPP Costing

Mayor DiCarlo copied my questions and responded below each of them.

why did council not provide the OPP with an opportunity to schedule an information session?

The OPP were given the opportunity to provide a costing under Council’s agreed upon process of an RFP to ensure equivalent service levels.  An information session that did not meet Council’s direction of an RFP would not have been appropriate.

Editor’s Note: An information session should have been deemed appropriate in response to council’s motions to obtain an OPP costing, work with the OPP and Mayor DiCarlo’s statement to the Ministry: “I will be pleased to provide any additional information that your Ministry may require. We look forward to working collaboratively with OPP staff members and representatives from nearby municipalities to ensure the process we follow is fair, transparent, and comprehensive.” Instead of relying on hearsay from other municipalities, the OPP would have provided factual information and clarification if anyone was uninformed.

why was the September 14, 2017 letter from the OPP to Mayor Aldo DiCarlo not presented to council until five months later at its February 26, 2018 meeting?

The meeting of February 26th was when the letter was made public to the residents.  Council was aware of the OPP’s position prior to that date.

Editor’s Note: my FOI request to the town, because the mayor would not respond re my request for the letter, was for “the town council meeting agenda and minutes wherein the letter was presented and discussed.” How did council become aware of the OPP’s position before the February 26, 2018 meeting if it was not presented or discussed at any other meeting? Was there an in-camera meeting I was not advised of?

and why did council not submit a resolution to the OPP by the September 30, 2017 deadline?

As stated above, the OPP were given a resolution from council that requested a costing based on the Town’s RFP model.  There was no need or direction to provide any other resolutions.

Editor’s Note: council’s motions to obtain an OPP costing and work with the OPP were never rescinded to the best of my knowledge. CAO Miceli never answered my question about it.

DiCarlo: To be clear, to date, I have only heard from 2 residents that I recall on the preference to consider the OPP costing model.  Perhaps the other members of council have heard from more, that is for them to share.  The majority of the residents of Amherstburg that I’ve heard from have made it clear that they were not interested in the OPP’s model of policing.  Should that change, the issue can always be revisited.  In the meanwhile, I believe a reasonable amount of time has been spent in answering the questions you posed, but there is a considerable amount of other business that also needs attention.

Editor’s Note: I did not ask about any residents’ preferences however, the original motion to obtain an OPP costing in December 2014 was the result of an election issue, which Mayor DiCarlo addressed during the campaign when he stated, in part, RE OPP costing, “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.”

The majority of residents expressed an interest to maintain the Amherstburg Police Service, but Mayor DiCarlo voted in favour of Windsor’s proposal.

Responding to media requests is part of the position and time commitment Mayor DiCarlo campaigned for: that’s what accountability and transparency is.

Update: Shortly after Council’s 2014 motion to obtain an OPP costing, the Windsor Star reported, “We’ve had plenty of residents say, why don’t we have OPP? And in the long run, the answer might be, well here’s why and we’re not going to.” DiCarlo said. “But up to now, because no one’s asked for the costing, (we haven’t) been able to say the difference between these two.”

February 2016, the RTT reported, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said they are working on bringing a representative of the OPP to council to explain the process. Lavigne added they hope to bring police services board representatives from OPP jurisdictions to Amherstburg to speak to council on their experiences.

Questions For Council: OPP Costing Process Not Followed

Members of council have been asked the following questions:

why did council not provide the OPP with an opportunity to schedule an information session?

why was the September 14, 2017 letter from the OPP to Mayor Aldo DiCarlo not presented to council until five months later at its February 26, 2018 meeting?

and why did council not submit a resolution to the OPP by the September 30, 2017 deadline?

Access To Letter: Town Did Not Follow OPP Costing Process

As mentioned in this post, I submitted a FOI request for the letter referenced by the mayor in a November 14, 2017 RTT article since he did not respond to my two emails regarding my request for the letter.

The town has disclosed the letter, along with the fact that it is publicly available so no FOI request was required.

The article, OPP does not give police costing to Amherstburg, quoted Mayor DiCarlo:

“Instead of getting a costing from the OPP, we got a letter saying they are not going to follow our guidelines.”

The OPP “basically said no” when asked for the details the town wanted, said DiCarlo. He said it was “incredibly disappointing” the OPP didn’t want to work with the town’s guidelines, adding it was also “very frustrating” that while Windsor was willing the OPP “couldn’t be bothered.”

The September 14, 2017 letter from the OPP is addressed to Mayor Aldo DiCarlo.

Rather than indicate an unwillingness to follow the town’s guidelines, the OPP reiterated “the OPP utilizes the Information Manual for the OPP Contract Proposal Process for all contract proposals” and explained, “the process prescribed in your Request for Proposal differs in significant ways from the process described in our manual. As a result, the OPP cannot participate in your Request for Proposal.”

The OPP also stated, “we have made several attempts to schedule an information session to explain to your Council the OPP contract proposal process. Since we have not been provided with the opportunity to do so, we recommend that you and your Council familiarize yourself with the Information manual, as it outlines all the steps involved in the contract proposal process.”

The OPP required a council resolution by September 30, 2017 if it wished to proceed.

The town confirmed that the September 14, 2017 letter to Mayor Aldo DiCarlo was presented five months later to council at its February 26, 2018 meeting.

Therefore, I disagree with the mayor’s position and submit the town did not follow the OPP costing process. How incredibly disappointing.

OCPC Found Dysfunction In Peterborough

According to the CBC report, “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.

Maybe Mayor DiCarlo should submit a Freedom of Information request. Or maybe he shouldn’t comment until he knows the details. For example, are breaches of human rights or privacy acceptable business practices?

The details of OCPC’s Investigation into Peterborough Police Services Board were serious and concluded:

Based on evidence obtained during the course of the investigation, as summarized above, the Commission is now of the opinion that the ongoing dysfunction of the PPSB constitutes an emergency and that the appointment of an administrator pursuant to subsection 23(1) of the PSA is necessary in the public interest. The status of the existing Board members is not affected by this Order, as they remain members of the Board in good standing, but the Board’s functions will be overseen by the administrator.