Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo at Essex County Council, November 1, 2017. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

DiCarlo: Amherstburg Police Decision Coming

A decision on the future of policing in Amherstburg is fast approaching, according to the town’s mayor.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo provided an update Monday night on the process concerning a proposal to have the Windsor Police Service absorb the Amherstburg police department and take over patrols in the town. DiCarlo says the town has been examining all of the information it has and a decision is rapidly approaching.

“Administration is finalizing a couple of reports,” says DiCarlo. “One with the J-PAC [Joint Police Advisory] committee and another strictly administrative, and within a couple of weeks council will be making a decision.”

The plan, first brought before council in December, would eliminate the police chief and deputy chief positions in Amherstburg and have them stay on the force, reporting to Windsor police administration. All members of the Amherstburg force would stay on the job but work for Windsor police if the decision is approved.

The town says it would save over $567,000 a year if the switch is made.

Four public meetings were held in January to get input from residents on the proposal. DiCarlo says based on the feedback he’s heard, there are strong feelings on both sides.

“There was definitely a strong lean to keep our current police force, and outside of public meetings, I would say there’s at least an equally strong contingent that says it looks like a good deal and good for the future of Amherstburg,” says DiCarlo.

DiCarlo says while the decision is ultimately up to town council, he believes that having the current force serving Amherstburg suits the town well.

“We’ve done well with them,” says DiCarlo. “This is why we approached it the way we did, which is different from what other people have done. As opposed to just saying ‘Give us a cost for policing’, we’ve said ‘No, this is the way we like our policing, what would it cost us?'”

DiCarlo says the process has been a highly emotional one for himself, councillors and residents alike, and it has been a challenge focusing on the information.

The mayor says he fully expects the question to be approved, denied or deferred at council’s next meeting, set for February 26.