LISTEN IN: OCPC Investigating Windsor Police Service

The Windsor Police Service is now under investigation.

The Ontario Civilian Police Commission has initiated an investigation after receiving multiple complaints.

The commission says between January 2018 to April 2018, it received complaints from members of Windsor Police Serice that raised serious concerns about the workplace environment, the administration and the oversight provided by the Windsor Police Services Board.

The Commission says it decided to conduct an investigation on May 4 into a number of issues, including;

  1. Whether the promotional processes, particularly to administration rank positions, are fair and transparent and whether the Board exercises appropriate oversight of those processes
  2. Whether the hiring processes relating to the potential hiring of relatives are fair and transparent
  3. Whether the board is appropriately informed about administration issues relating to its mandate, including the promotional processes involving candidates for senior administration
  4. Whether there has been improper interference in specific legal proceedings and whether any such interference has been initiated, encouraged and/or sustained by the current administration of the WPS and/or the board.
  5. Whether a poisoned work environment has been created, encouraged, and / or sustained by the current administration of WPS in relation to workplace policies and/or accommodation requests
  6. Whether the WPS has fair and transparent processes to address workplace harassment and human rights complaints
  7. Whether the board is fulfilling its statutory oversight role in relation to items 5 and 6.

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

"We will fully cooperate with the investigation, we do not believe that we've done anything wrong and we welcome them here to undertake that investigation as quickly as possible," says Mayor Drew Dilkens.

The Commission says its investigation will not interfere with any ongoing human rights proceedings, nor will the Commission report on the merits of any specific workplace harassment or human rights complaint.

"This investigation has nothing to do with public complaints,” says Dilkens. “These are all related to an internal complaint from members of the Windsor Police Service who have gone to the Ontario Civilian Police Commission, asking them to invoke their power under legislation to investigate issues related to mostly the promotional process at Windsor Police Service."

The Ontario Civilian Police Commission initially advised the Windsor Police Service and the Windsor Police Services Board that the investigation should be kept confidential.  However, with an upcoming public hearing related to contract policing in Amherstburg, the OCPC decided to disclose the facts about an investigation.

The Windsor Police Service, its board and Dilkens say the investigation is irrelevant to the Commission’s mandate, which is to determine whether their policing proposal will ensure the provision of adequate and effective policing services to the residents of Amherstburg.

“With respect to our ability to provide effective and adequate, safe policing to the Town of Amherstburg, we absolutely know we can do that,” adds Dilkens. “We look forward to the hearing on June 26 and we've already been in contact with our friends in Amherstburg to give them more information on this matter."

The OCPC is currently reviewing Amherstburg's application to have Windsor police take over policing responsibilities in the town. A public hearing is scheduled for June 26th.

There is currently a case before human rights tribunal involving Staff-Sergeant Christine Bissonnette.  

At a hearing in February, she spoke of what she calls "systemic discrimination" she has faced over the course of her 30-year career with the Windsor Police Service.