'Status quo not path forward' says Windsor Police chief

Acting Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick delivered Project Accountability, a 27-point plan designed to clean up the department.

Acting Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick on Friday announced Project Accountability, a 27-point plan designed to clean up and enhance his embattled police service.

"The current status quo is not the path forward for the Windsor Police Service," Frederick said at a media conference.

Frederick said new policies, already implemented, are directed at changing the culture of the police force.

"As an organization, we are committed to changing the aspects of our culture that do not reflect the values and expectations of this community," Frederick said.

The department is currently facing accusations of police brutality and a multi-million-dollar lawsuit brought by Dr. Tyceer Abouhassan, who says he was beaten by a Windsor Police officer. And former chief Gary Smith failed to notified the Special Investigations Unit of instances of serious injury.

READ Acting Police Chief Al Frederick's explanation of Project Accountability.

Mayor Eddie Francis, who also chairs the police services board, said people expect improvements to the department and they will get them.

"There is going to be zero tolerance of this type of conduct," Francis said.

"We embrace community expectations," Frederick said..

Frederick said one of his duties has been to send the message out to officers that they must be professional at all times. He adds there will be no tolerance for misbehaviour.

"The key to our success is the proper supervision of our front-line people," Frederick said.

The acting chief said "accountability is critical" and that morale among officer is "extremely high." He said they are supportive of change.

More outside training en route

Police officers will receive more psychological testing, integrity training and financial background checks before promotion. The department will also implement a mandatory mentoring program and leadership course before the promotion of an officer.

Frederick also wants the public involved in the process. The department will overhaul its website and hire a public information officer to ease reporting of complaints and obtaining information about the service.

Frederick said said people should not feel intimidated about making a complaint about police.

The former chief's departure was linked to a case of a local doctor suing the force, alleging police brutality.

Smith was the target of allegations that he failed to notify the Special Investigations Unit about an alleged beating of Dr. Tyceer Abouhassan.

Dr. Tyceer Abouhassan alleges he was beaten by a police officer outside the Jackson Park Medical Centre in April 2010 and that police tried to cover up the incident.

The doctor has launched a $14-million lawsuit against the police. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The province's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) confirms that the former chief never informed it about the savage beating Abouhassan allegedly suffered, or the injuries he incurred during the arrest.

It had also been reported that Smith refused to respond to four letters sent from the SIU to the former chief.

Confusion over definition of 'injury'

Frederick said he has since hand-delivered four responses to the SIU. He said the reason Windsor Police didn't report the four instances of injuries is because the Windsor Police Service's definition of "serious injury" differed from that of the SIU. 

Windsor Police will now adhere to the SIU's definition of "serious injury." And the SIU will train Windsor officers how to recognize injuries and how to report them. 

The Abouhassan case is not the first allegation of police brutality the Windsor force has faced.

In an unrelated case, Windsor police Const. Brad Snyder pleaded guilty to assaulting Rod Wuschenny on Sept. 26, 2009.

Wuschenny recently launched his own $1.25-million lawsuit against the police.