Windsor

Packed public meeting in Amherstburg hears Windsor's police service bid

A packed public meeting was held in the town of Amherstburg Wednesday to discuss Windsor's bid to offer police services to the municipality.

The first town hall of four began at 6 p.m.

Residents raise their concerns during a public meeting in Amherstburg to discuss Windsor's bid to offer police services to the town. (Melissa Nakhavoly/CBC)

A packed public meeting was held in the town of Amherstburg Wednesday to discuss Windsor's bid to offer police services to the municipality. 

It was the first of four public meetings which are being held in the hopes to have some "meaningful dialogue" with residents, said Amherstburg's chief administration officer John Miceli. 

"Absolutely nothing will change," said Miceli, adding that all of Amherstburg's police staff would stay on, except for the police chief and deputy chief positions which would be replaced with a superintendent assigned to the town.

Miceli said that information gathered at the public consultations will be brought to the joint police advisory committee and a report is expected to go to council on Feb. 26.

The cost of the proposal is not public but Miceli estimates $600,000 in savings per year if the town accepts the bid, and the start date would be Jan. 1, 2019.

Denise Bondy attended the meeting to voice her concerns on the move. 

"Right now from what I've read in the newspapers … is that this is a change that should be resisted at the present time. Basically if it isn't broken why fix it? We have a cost efficient, friendly police service," she said.

Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick attended the meeting to answer questions from the public, and give a presentation. (Melissa Nakhavoly/CBC)

Kurt Holm-Andersen has lived in Amherstburg since 1984, when his family moved there. He's concerned with having Windsor police in his town. 

"That is something I'm definitely not a fan of. I don't want to see it happen. I don't want to lose our community policing," he said. "It's a different type of policing you need for a small town versus a large city."

All of the officers that currently work for Amherstburg will continue to do so...- Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick

Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick was on hand at the meeting, and said it was critical that townspeople have an opportunity to voice their concerns.

"We provide a service like many services it goes without notice most of the time and you will not lose — in my experience — you will not lose that small town feel and the things you're most proud of in your community will remain," he said.

"In this case the face of the Amherstburg Police Service isn't going to change ... All of the officers that currently work for Amherstburg will continue to do so unless they choose to want to come to Windsor for opportunity and promotions and that sort of thing."

Miceli said it's a five-year contract and the town would have the option to renew it or not 42 months in. 

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