Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, February 9, 2015. (Photo by Mike Vlasveld)

A’burg Still Moving Forward With Policing Bid Despite City Police Investigation

The proposal to have Windsor take over policing in the town of Amherstburg is expected to move forward, despite an ongoing investigation into complaints against the Windsor Police Service.

Amherstburg officials held an emergency council meeting and police board meeting Thursday evening, a day after being notified that the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) is investigating a number of internal complaints made against the Windsor Police Service.

The complaints, which include possible nepotism, unfair promotion practices and interference in legal proceedings, came at a time when the commision is also evaluating a bid to have the Windsor Police Service take over policing in Amherstburg.

“According to the OCPC, it’s two separate processes. They’re not necessarily related and the OCPC’s position for the process [involving Amherstburg] is solely to determine whether Windsor can provide adequate and effective policing,” said Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo.

The complaints that prompted the investigation back in May were made between January 2018 to April 2018 have led the OCPC to have serious concerns about the workplace environment of the Windsor Police Service, its administration and the Windsor Police Services Board.

During the meeting on Thursday, the OCPC addressed council for its position on the investigation over a conference call.

“They were solely looking for whether the town wanted to provide a position on the issue that the Windsor Police Service will have some investigations coming,” he said, adding that town officials do not have enough details about the investigation. “Council decided that we’re not really in a position to provide a position.”

DiCarlo expressed frustration at the timing of the OCPC’s decision to make the investigation public this week since it began back in May.

“I guess my frustration is really with the process. I really do appreciate that the OCPC made the decision and then changed their mind on that decision, but that has left us in a very difficult position,” he said.  “We had very little time to try and consider, or at the least try and understand what it is exactly the OCPC was presenting and whether or not it had any effect on the process.”

Council voted unanimously not take any action as a result of the investigation being made public, and the Amherstburg Police Services Board also made a similar decision.

The OCPC initially asked Windsor administration to keep the investigation confidential from the public and Town of Amherstburg officials. However, the commission has since changed its position due to an upcoming public hearing regarding the amalgamation of the police forces, which is planned for June 26 at the Libro Credit Union Centre.

“Since the process is continuing, what I would tell the residents [of Amherstburg] is there will still be a public meeting on the 26th so they will have an opportunity still to talk to the OCPC,” said DiCarlo. “What council agreed is that the OCPC is the only body in a position to be able to decide whether [the investigation] is an issue for the agreement or not.”

The OCPC indicated to DiCarlo that it intends to complete the investigation into the Windsor Police Service complaints as quickly as possible.