Investigation Into Windsor Police Service and Board

CBC News reported The OCPC started to receive complaints in January and opened an investigation into on May 4. The investigation is being disclosed now ahead of the push for WPS to offer policing services to Amherstburg.

The Windsor Star also reported, The investigation by the Ontario Civilian Police Commission concerns Windsor police hiring and promotional practices including alleged nepotism, allegations of a “poisoned work environment” and allegations of “improper interference in specific legal proceedings,” Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens confirmed Wednesday.

iheartradio/am800 reported

The Commission says it decided to conduct an investigation on May 4 into a number of issues, including;

  1. Whether the promotional processes, particularly to administration rank positions, are fair and transparent and whether the Board exercises appropriate oversight of those processes
  2. Whether the hiring processes relating to the potential hiring of relatives are fair and transparent
  3. Whether the board is appropriately informed about administration issues relating to its mandate, including the promotional processes involving candidates for senior administration
  4. Whether there has been improper interference in specific legal proceedings and whether any such interference has been initiated, encouraged and/or sustained by the current administration of the WPS and/or the board.
  5. Whether a poisoned work environment has been created, encouraged, and / or sustained by the current administration of WPS in relation to workplace policies and/or accommodation requests
  6. Whether the WPS has fair and transparent processes to address workplace harassment and human rights complaints
  7. Whether the board is fulfilling its statutory oversight role in relation to items 5 and 6.

What Is Adequate And Effective Policing?

In the November 14, 2017 RTT article, mentioned in this post regarding an FOI request for the letter referenced by Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, the mayor said he didn’t understand their costing model. According to the article, he said while the town understands it would get “adequate and effective” policing from the OPP, “they won’t tell us exactly what that means.”

Well how are we supposed to know exactly what it means if the Windsor Police proposal requires a Freedom of Information request?

FOI Request For Letter Referenced by Mayor

In addition to the FOI request to Windsor Police, I have submitted an FOI request to the town of Amherstburg for a letter referenced by Mayor Aldo DiCarlo in the RTT.

Mayor DiCarlo was quoted in a November 14, 2017 RTT article, “Instead of getting a costing from the OPP, we got a letter saying they are not going to follow our guidelines.”

In a June 9, 2018 email to Mayor DiCarlo, I requested a copy of the letter he referenced and the council meeting minutes wherein it was presented and discussed.

On June 11, I let the mayor know that I am awaiting his response.

Amherstburg Mayor Responds

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo’s response RE Windsor Police Proposal Requires FOI Application:

“I believe it has been stated publicly already that the Windsor proposal contains operations information that could jeopardize the safety and/or the property of the residents of both Windsor and Amherstburg.  It should be noted that Amherstburg police have never released related information as well, for the same reasons.

The entire process, short of the operations information, was public and transparent.”

I disagree on both counts.

Windsor Police Proposal Requires FOI Application

On June 6, in response to a request for the Windsor Police proposal to takeover Amherstburg Police, Town Clerk Paula Parker advised it was not posted publicly as it contained a confidentiality clause and I would have to request it from Windsor Police Services directly. I did.

Today, Windsor Police Privacy Coordinator advised I must make an access request, pursuant to the Municipal Freedom of Information Act, for a copy of the records I am seeking.

So, I apprised all members of council of my requests for the proposal and stated ratepayers were led to believe the entire process would be transparent.

I also asked if anyone would like to explain how being transparent is possible if information is kept from the public?

Any responses, if received, will be posted here.

OCPC To Hold Public Meeting – Amherstburg Policing Proposal

Although the Windsor Police Proposal to take over policing in Amherstburg is not publicly available, the Ontario Civilian Police Commission will hear from the public on June 26, 2018:

9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  AND 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Libro Credit Union Centre (Libro Centre)

3295 Meloche Road Amherstburg, ON

​To download/access the official Notice of Public Meeting, click here.

To download/access relevant portions of submissions, click Part 1Part 2, and Part 3.

Public Meeting Re Windsor Police Takeover in Amherstburg

The Windsor Star reported, “The commission deciding the fate of Amherstburg police wants to meet with residents.”

According to the article, CAO Miceli said, “Public consultation is part of the OCPC’s process,” adding the public meetings are not meant to seek community approval.

The ONTARIO CIVILIAN POLICE COMMISSION (OCPC) is not required to hold a public meeting; in fact it did not hold one in St. Marys, the model often referred to. The OCPC asked the City of St. Marys to provide a written submission setting out the proposed policing arrangement and approved it.

However, OCPC will consult with Amherstburg residents regarding council’s decision to have Windsor Police take over policing in Amherstburg.

Amherstburg Taxpayers Losers In Policing Decision

Commentary by Linda Saxon

Council’s motivation to compare policing costs was the level of municipal debt and it was committed to obtaining an OPP costing; it carried two motions to do so.

There were also other cost-saving options to reduce the police budget’s share of municipal taxes.

Council could have established the police budget and maybe taxpayers wouldn’t have been burdened with items like body worn cameras that large police services couldn’t afford because of data storage.

Despite claims over the years that the board was autonomous, according to the Police Services Act: Upon reviewing the estimates, the council shall establish an overall budget for the board for the purposes described in clauses (1) (a) and (b) and, in doing so, the council is not bound to adopt the estimates submitted by the board.

Council could have decided the taxpayers should only pay for a three member Police Services Board instead of the five recommended for a large police service.

Had council elected the OPP in 1998, when the OPP communication system was province wide, taxpayers might have realized $1 million savings annually, or $20 million by now, that could have been put toward infrastructure.

Instead, Amherstburg depended on others for dispatching and switched services a number of times from LaSalle, to Leamington, back to LaSalle, then to Windsor.

The proposed benefits of the 1998 amalgamation were identified as follows:

  1. operating costs would be stabilized through efficiencies;
  2. human resources would be deployed more efficiently;
  3. specialized police units would become financially viable due to the economics of scale;
  4. labour relations matters would be simplified;
  5. larger pool of human resources available to deal with major incidents;
  6. communications and computer systems would be enhanced; and
  7. several other benefits both to the service and to the public.

Amherstburg had access to the OPP specialized units and did require them on occasion, but will taxpayers now pay for specialized Windsor units 365 days a year whether they are needed or not?

The OPP’s mandate is to patrol the waterways so how necessary was an Amherstburg Police marine unit? Will a Windsor Police marine unit continue to be an unnecessary municipal expenditure?

The Police Services Board could have put an end to the OPP ‘poison pill’ clause in the police contract that seemed to inhibit the town obtaining an OPP costing.

The Windsor Star reported that Taxpayers in Windsor pay more per capita for policing than all other parts of Essex county, sometimes double that of its county neighbours policed by the OPP.

Given those verified figures, and because Amherstburg did not obtain an OPP costing as it was committed to doing, twice, Amherstburg taxpayers lost an opportunity to know if a better cost saving option was possible.

Consequently, no one can claim we got the best bang for our buck, despite that being the goal.

For the past twenty years I have maintained the Amherstburg Police hierarchical structure was costly and unnecessary; after all these years Windsor Police’s proposal to save money will see the hierarchy change.

Amherstburg’s Request For Proposal (RFP) Policing Services

Commentary by Linda Saxon

On November 14, 2017, I emailed CAO Miceli for the Request For Proposal.

Since I received no response from Miceli, on November 19 I emailed everyone on council requesting it from them.

Following some misunderstanding about what I was actually requesting, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo advised me that the Request For Proposal was public and would be forthcoming. 

The next day, on November 20, Miceli emailed the RFP AMHERSTBURG POLICE SERVICES.

Council Should Get Police Costings For ALL Options

Commentary by Linda Saxon

I submitted the following to be placed on council’s agenda, cc’d to members of council:

I request that you adhere to your commitment to obtaining an OPP costing and to follow the procedure set out in the OPP Information Manual, which includes community consultation.

This council has sought RFPs for legal services: “I just think it is fiscally responsible,” said Courtney, adding her belief that there are other firms that could give a competitive rate to the town.

Council also sought a Request for Proposals (RFP) to try and get more costings for the mosquito situation. Miceli also stated in his report to council that an RFP would address accountability and transparency issues as sole-sourcing the service could cause a political backlash. An RFP would also see if the town could get more value for their money, he added.

An RFP was issued for the Concession 2 North bridge.

The only way taxpayers will know if they are getting the most effective and efficient policing service is by a full cost comparison, which would include the OPP.

Our community deserves the full benefit of a cost comparison of all policing options as well as public meetings regarding the highest budget item.

Information About OPP Costing Process and Adequate And Effective Policing Readily Available

Commentary by Linda Saxon

The River Town Times article, OPP Does Not Give Costing by Ron Giofu, reports, in part, that DiCarlo didn’t doubt the OPP provides an excellent police service, he said he didn’t understand their costing model. He said while the town understands it would get “adequate and effective” policing from the OPP, “they won’t tell us exactly what that means.”

I would have thought that as an Amherstburg Police Services Board member, Mayor DiCarlo would have access to the Police Services Act, (PSA) that stipulates every municipality shall adequate and effective services in accordance with its needs and sets out, at a minimum what that must include.

Also, the October 20, 2017 Information Manual for the OPP Contract Proposal Process reiterates the same and also includes information about the Police Adequacy and Effectiveness Standards Regulation under the PSA :

“The Police Adequacy and Effectiveness Standards Regulation (Adequacy Standards) helps ensure the effective delivery of policing services. It was filed as O.Reg. 3/99 on January 8, 1999.

The regulation was part of the government’s overall strategy to provide Police Services Boards (PSB) and police services, the structure and tools they needed to ensure adequacy and effectiveness. All police services were to be in compliance by January 1, 2001.

Additionally, the regulation required all PSBs to develop a plan, setting out the steps needed to be taken by the board and the police service in order to meet the requirements of the regulation.

The Adequacy Standards regulation content is high level. It provides flexibility in implementation, including service delivery i.e. contracting with another police service or organization, or providing crime prevention initiatives on a regional or cooperative basis.

The primary focus of the Adequacy Standards regulation is on what police services do, and not how they should do it. Overall, it is designed to ensure that all Ontarians receive core police services.”

The OPP’s Information Manual clearly sets out costing timelines and steps, and oh, look at step 6:

“Municipal Council Consideration/Public Consultation and Decision.”

Have Amherstburg taxpayers been denied an opportunity to compare and provide input on ALL police costing proposals? Since it is only after council’s decision to move forward with the ‘local’ or Windsor Police options, I have to ask, as Mayoral candidate Aldo DiCarlo did during the 2014 campaign: “Did a single one of the current council members do their due diligence in requesting an OPP costing early enough so that we could have reviewed our options now that the contract is being negotiated? I believe the answer is no, and I’d be happy to be wrong.”

In response to the Commentary, “No Commitment To Remove OPP Clause In Police Contract,” then- Mayoral Candidate Aldo DiCarlo’s full comment posted on October 17, 2014 was:

This is an issue that I have spent a considerable amount of time on, specifically because of the large potential savings, $1M or more. At last night’s debate, Deputy Mayor Suttherland stated that an OPP costing takes at least 18 months. As a taxpaying resident, not a just a mayoral candidate, this both angers and frustrates me. If it does indeed take this amount of time, why then did not a single council member make the motion to request the OPP costing. If one of them did, I would like to know who and why it was voted down. ALL contracts have an expiry date. Did a single one of the current council members do their due diligence in requesting an OPP costing early enough so that we could have reviewed our options now that the contract is being negotiated? I believe the answer is no, and I’d be happy to be wrong.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo Comments on Commentary About Police Costing

Note: CAO John Micelli has not responded to a request for the policing Request for Proposal. Since the original commentary was in response to information and quotes in the Windsor Star, no corrections will be made.

The Mayor’s comment is set out below here and following the original post, Policing In Amherstburg – Who Knows Best?

Aldo DiCarlo on said

No disrespect, but your assumption of what was presented for ALL parties to quote, is not correct. The assumption that we demanded the organisational structure we currently have remain in tact is incorrect. What we provided as our guidelines was that any parties confirm their costing. For example, if we asked for 3 or 6 officers, we expected to have that confirmed in returned service. We are not going to pay for patrols we aren’t getting. The OPP model will tell you what they believe you need, fair enough, but they won’t confirm that you will get what you pay for. As mayor, accountable to confirm the taxpayers funds are being used accordingly, I am not okay with that. The OPP did not opt not to cost because they didn’t agree with our service levels, they declined to cost because they refuse to confirm service levels after you’ve contracted them. This I have confirmed with other municipalities who have switched to OPP. There will be a definite savings offered by Windsor, which residents will see as equal to or better than OPP’s current model, the question is “are residents even interested in switching to enjoy those savings?”. So far, the resounding answer to me has been ‘no thanks, we’ll pay the extra’. Thanks for keeping Amherstburg residents informed.

Also note, any typos were originated from the commenter’s submission.