Dilkens reveals re-election platform on public safety

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens discusses his public safety re-election platform with reporters in downtown Windsor on September 13, 2018. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

Windsor’s incumbent mayor wants to go high-tech in the fight against crime if he is re-elected.

Drew Dilkens laid out the public safety plank of his re-election platform outside of Windsor Police Headquarters Thursday morning. In it, he listed the city’s accomplishments in ensuring the safety of residents and laid out ideas to bring the fight against crime to the next level.

The mayor reiterated the city’s plan to add a Windsor police “rapid response team” with 12 new police officers to patrol areas where increased crime has been reported. He also talked about the city’s efforts to curb homelessness, drug addiction, and mental health issues by bringing in additional outreach staff, and to protect residents from the dangers of used drug needles by placing 15 needle disposal bins in areas where needles have been thrown away improperly.

Turning to crime-fighting efforts he would put in place if given another term, Dilkens proposed the placement of 100 digital cameras across the city that would feed picture directly to police dispatch.

“They [police dispatch] would have the ability to look at the camera feed, to look at what’s going on in the city and to provide a timely response in real-time,” said Dilkens.

The mayor said the city would apply to become the first Canadian city to set up a digital Neighbourhood Watch system, in which residents with home-monitoring systems would be able to tap them into a police network, assisting officers in investigating criminal activity.

Other proposed initiatives include a pharmacy safety plan to reduce crime in and around the city’s drugstores, and a next-generation 911 system, to help residents report crime by way of video, photos and text messaging.

Homelessness will be addressed by the creation of a community outreach patrol consisting of social service and community agencies, along with third-party groups, to address the needs of the homeless population. During a meeting with city officials, Street Help’s Christine Wilson-Furlonger proposed a “tent city” or the setting aside of a warehouse to help house homeless people, complete with police patrols. Dilkens said, though, that such an idea is not on the table.

“I’m not sure that setting up another location and bringing police in to monitor folks who don’t want to follow an existing set of rules is going to make a lot of sense, because we still have capacity in the existing shelters,” said Dilkens. “We ourselves, if we were setting something up, we’d have similar rules.”

Dilkens’ chief competitor for the mayor’s office, Matt Marchand, is expected to reveal his own public safety plan by the end of the month. Also running for mayor are businessmen Tom Hensel and Ernie (The Baconman) Lamont, as well as retired farmer Frank Dyck.