It’s been seven months since Windsor police moved into Amherstburg and on this day, a service enhancement is being announced.
The Windsor Police Service says 9-1-1 calls from the town will now be routed directly to the headquarters in the city. They have previously been routed through North Bay.
Windsor police Sgt. Steve Betteridge says that means emergency calls can be answered even faster.
“When seconds count – and in a 9-1-1 emergency seconds count – this is an enhancement that we're proud to be able to offer,” says Sgt. Betteridge. “Obviously it's case by case but if we're right down to truly seconds count and you don't have an extra transfer of a phone call that isn't required, that could be a life or death situation depending on the scenario.”
While other communities in Windsor-Essex have transitioned to Ontario Provincial Police, Amherstburg is the first community to make the switch to Windsor police.
And while some residents expressed concerns about the change, the takeover seems to be going unnoticed.
“It's been pretty seamless. I think the transition has gone quite smoothly,” says Mark Galvin, the director of planning, development and legislative services for the town, calling the transition seamless. “You know there was some consternation I think in making it, it was an unprecedented thing to do. But, not necessarily any negative feedback I don't think we've had really any complaints.”
Access to more specialized units and more than $500,000 a year in savings for taxpayers were some of the key selling points for switch and if there was any worry about a new policing service moving into town, it seems to have subsided.
“There were a lot of naysayers that stirred up a lot of stuff that wasn't necessary but after it all passed -- nothing's changed. We have the same policemen here in Amherstburg you just have a different car,” said resident Tom Dufour. “Is there any change? I haven't noticed any. I guess some people have.”
Patricia Dundara feels the same way. “I see them on the streets and that's about it. I haven't required their services and I'm thankful for that but, thankful that they're here to help us out when we need it,” Dundara says.”
Galvin says the town expects to save as much as $16 million over the life of the 20-year agreement.