Windsor Police Headquarters, February 8th 2016, (Photo by Jess Craymer)

Windsor Police Face Investigation Due To Internal Complaints

The Windsor Police Service is currently being investigated by an independent police oversight agency after multiple complaints were made by members of the police department.

The Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) said complaints made between January 2018 to April 2018 have led the organization to have “serious concerns about the workplace environment of the [the Windsor Police Service], the administration of the [Windsor Police Service], and the oversight provided by the Windsor Police Services Board”.

The civilian group said its investigation will focus on allegations of possible unfair promotion practices, nepotism in the hiring process, interference in legal proceedings, and whether a poisoned work environment has been allowed to flourish under the current administration.  The investigation will also look into whether there are fair and transparent processes to address workplace harassment and human rights complaints.

As well, the OCPC will be scrutinizing the police board to ensure it is fulfilling its required oversight role into these matters.  However, the investigation will not focus on one specific workplace harassment or human rights complaint or interfere with any ongoing human rights proceedings.

The chief and the Windsor Police Services Board have advised the Ontario Civilian Police Commission that they intend to fully co-operate with the investigation.

According to the Windsor Police Service, OCPC initially asked the administration to keep the investigation confidential from the public. However, the commission has since changed its position due to an upcoming public hearing regarding the Windsor Police Service taking over policing in the town of Amherstburg.

The OCPC is also the group tasked with reviewing the proposal that would allow the Amherstburg Police Service to be absorbed by the service in Windsor.  The civilian group’s mandate in this matter is to ensure the proposal does not violate the Police Services Act.

The proposal was approved by a divided Amherstburg Town Council in February.

Officials with the Windsor Police Service said they are confident that the OCPC will maintain “strict separation” between the investigation into the complaints against the police service and the review process of the Amherstburg police proposal.

“The Windsor Police Service and the Windsor Police Services Board believe the fact that an investigation has been initiated is irrelevant to the commission’s mandate, which is to determine whether the Windsor Police Service contract policing proposal will ensure the provision of adequate and effective policing services to the residents of Amherstburg,” said Windsor police officials.