Amherstburg police cruiser, May 20, 2015. (Photo by Mike Vlasveld)

Police Overhaul Proposed In Amherstburg

Amherstburg residents may get to keep a few extra dollars in their pockets thanks to a proposed restructuring of the local police service.

Councillors agreed Monday night to accept a proposal from a joint police advisory committee to send a plan to public consultation, which would have the Windsor Police Service take over police protection for Amherstburg.

The plan would eliminate the positions of chief and deputy chief in Amherstburg, but those two individuals would remain on the force. In fact, all officers within the Amherstburg Police Service would join the Windsor Police Service, thus eliminating the need for severance costs.

Chief Administrative Officer John Miceli says if the merger takes place, Amherstburg residents would enjoy the same level of police service, while saving a total of $567,802 a year.

“It’s basically a way for them to deliver the service here in Amherstburg,” says Miceli. “It would be a contractual obligation for the Windsor Police Service to deliver in Amherstburg, and in that model, they would report to a staff sergeant.”

According to the report submitted to council, the merger is designed to mirror the current structure of Amherstburg Police Service, including organization and service models that are already in place. The town consistently ranks high among the safest municipalities in Ontario.

The Town of Amherstburg would still be responsible for dispatching costs, plus utilities and maintenance of its police station on Sandwich St.

The plan also has the Windsor Police Service assuming the Amherstburg staff and their post-retirement benefit costs, which are estimated to be around $3.9-million.

Miceli says a series of steps must be taken before town council can even be asked to approve the proposal. Four public meetings are expected to take place in January, before the matter will be brought before councillors.

“We’re going to go out and we’re going to do the public consultations,” says Miceli. “They’ll have one more opportunity to come back and speak to council directly. That’s expected to happen on February 26.”

The public meetings will take place on January 17, 18, 25 and 27.  The times and places of the meetings have yet to be determined.