VIDEO: More Than 100 Residents Pack Public Meeting On Policing In Amherstburg

More than 100 Amherstburg residents filled the Community Room at the Libro Centre Saturday for the last of four public consultation meetings on a possible switch to Windsor Police Services.

The five year contract would result in $567,000 in annual savings while retaining current staff with the exception of the Chief and Deputy Chief positions — they would be replaced with Staff Sergeants.

Residents like Len Paquette lined up for a chance to step up to the microphone and make it clear they wanted to keep their police force — with very few exceptions.

"If I take a plate and go in my front yard and pick up dog-crap and bring it in the house, put in mashed potatoes, vegetables and everything," he says. "Guess what, at the end of the day it's still dog-crap."

Several residents raised concerns over amalgamation, including Paquette.

"We give Windsor our police, the fire department's next, and then the public works," he says. "It makes it easy for them to expropriate us because they're controlling all our services."

Another resident spoke of rumours that CAO John Miceli — who once worked for the city of Windsor — is somehow colluding with the city at the expense of the town.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo quickly spoke up to point out a policing contract is a far cry from expropriation and to defend the CAO.  He says residents and council decided to explore the cost cutting measure — Miceli is simply doing his job.

"If in the end the majority of residents say they don't want to continue with it, so be it." says DiCarlo. "Comments that the CAO has got some kind of conspiracy thing going is, I'm sorry, but it's just absolute nonsense."

He tells AM800 News of the more than 100 people at the meeting, not many are new faces. DiCarlo says www.talktheburg.ca is also collecting data from residents on what direction the town should take.  

Around 21,000 people live in Amherstburg and he says council has to take everyone into consideration, not just the people who came to the meetings.

"I don't think I'd be doing anyone any justice by ignoring someone's opinions simply because they're not prepared to advertise it in a public meeting," He says.

The town is expected to make a final decision at its Feb. 26 council meeting. 

DiCarlo says all other items may be dropped from the agenda for that meeting to focus on the policing issue and a larger venue may be used. Saturday's meeting ran an hour longer than expected.