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Windsor Police Service

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Windsor Police Service
Windsor Police shoulder flash
Windsor Police shoulder flash
AbbreviationWPS
MottoHonour in Service
Agency overview
FormedJuly 1, 1867[1]
Preceding agency
Annual budget$84 million[3]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionCanada
Population217,195[3]
Legal jurisdictionAs per operations jurisdiction
General nature
Operational structure
Overseen byWindsor Police Services Board
Headquarters150 Goyeau Street
Windsor, Ontario
N9A 6V2
Sworn members473
Unsworn members154
Elected officer responsible
Agency executive
  • Jason Bellaire, Chief of Police
Website
Official website

The Windsor Police Service is the municipal law enforcement agency in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. It succeeded the Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment.

Since 2019, the Windsor Police Service has also provided contract policing services for the nearby Town of Amherstburg.[4] In 2021, it submitted a proposal to provide policing services for the Municipality of Leamington.[5] The municipality rejected the proposal and continues to be served by the Ontario Provincial Police.[6]

The current chief of police is Jason Bellaire, who previously served as a deputy chief and acting chief before being appointed to the role in November 2022.[7]

Windsor Police Services is among police forces with the highest number of human rights complaints in Ontario.[8] Specifically, they have been the subject of the highest number of formal complaints regarding sexual misconduct and reprisal. They have also been the subject of high-profile cases of assault against civilians. In 2020, amidst rising demands for police abolition across North America, a campaign was launched to defund the Windsor Police Services.[9]

Organization

The Windsor Police Service headquarters is located at 150 Goyeau Street in downtown Windsor. The building incorporates an Ontario Court of Justice courthouse.[10]

In addition, the service maintains secondary sites:

  • Major FA Tilston Armoury & Police Training Centre, 4007 Sandwich St. (shared with the Department of National Defence)
  • Sandwich Community Services, 3312 Sandwich St.
  • Collision Reporting Centre, 2696 Jefferson Blvd.

The police service employs 473 sworn members and 153 civilian members. The organization is divided into two areas: Operations and Operational Support.[11]

Operations

Emergency 911 Centre

The Windsor Police Emergency 911 Centre handles all incoming 911 calls in the City of Windsor. It dispatches police officers, while calls for fire and EMS are routed to their respective agencies. The Emergency 911 Centre co-operates with the Canadian Coast Guard, Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.[12]

Investigations

  • Major Crimes Unit
  • Special Victims Unit
  • Target Based Unit

Investigative Support

  • Investigative Analysis
  • Drugs & Gun Enforcement
  • Intelligence
  • Property & Evidence Retention

Patrol and Patrol Response

  • Downtown directed patrol
  • Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COAST)
Windsor Police Service headquarters, located at 150 Goyeau St.

Patrol Support

  • Court Operations
  • Emergency Services Unit
  • Explosive Disposal Unit
  • Marine Unit
  • Police Dog Unit
  • Traffic Branch
  • Collision Reporting Centre

Operational Support

  • Information Services
  • Planning & Physical Services
  • Professional Advancement
  • Professional Standards Branch
  • Quality Assurance and Audits
  • Technology Services

Windsor Police Pipe Band

The Windsor Police Pipe Band was founded in 1967. The band performs at a variety of community events, including parades, police memorial services and funerals. Two groups also compete under the Windsor Police's name in grade 3 and 5.[13]

Police chiefs

The following is a list of Windsor's police chiefs:

  • Samuel Port 1867
  • William Bains
  • Daniel Thompson
  • Mortimore Wigle
  • James P. Smith
  • Claude Renaud 1935 to 1950
  • Edwin V. McNeill - O.P.P. Staff Inspector. Temporary appointment. 1950/51
  • Carl W. Farrow 1951 to 1968
  • Gordon Preston 1968 to 1974
  • John Williamson 1974 to 1980
  • Jack Shuttleworth 1980 to 1984
  • John Hughes 1984 to 1988
  • Jim Adkin 1988-1994
  • John Kousik 1994-1999
  • Glenn Stannard 1999-2008
  • Gary Smith 2008-2012
  • Al Frederick 2012-2019
  • Pamela Mizuno 2019-2022
  • Jason Bellaire 2022–Present

Controversies

David Van Buskirk and the Assault of Dr. Abouhassan

In April 2010, Windsor Detective David van Buskirk assaulted Dr. Tyceer Abouhassan, an endocrinologist, in an unprovoked attack in a parking lot on McDougall St. outside Dr. Abouhassan's workplace. Dr. Abouhassan was left with a concussion, broken nose, bruised ribs, and a detached retina, requiring emergency surgery. Van Buskirk initially filed a police report stating that Dr. Abouhassan had attacked him, and police filed charges against Abouhassan for assaulting a peace officer. Those charges were dismissed by the court later that year.[14] In 2012, a video was uncovered which showed the assault on film. Van Buskirk then retracted his earlier statements and plead guilty to assault.[15]

As the case developed, Windsor Star reported several previous cases of police brutality perpetrated by Van Buskirk and other officers named in the case. Between 1993 and 1994, there were at least four cases of Van Buskirk assaulting civilians and then charging them with obstruction or assault. In the first case, in 1993, Van Buskirk and another officer apprehended a man sleeping in his car and beat him severely. In the second, in 1994, Van Buskirk, working as a breathalyzer technician, roughhandled a man who alleged wrongful arrest, dislocating his shoulder. In both cases Buskirk's charges were thrown out of court. Both victims filed lawsuits against Van Buskirk and both suits were settled out of court.[16]

In the third instance, a Michigan man named Gregory Eugene Jackson also sued Van Buskirk, claiming that he and a group of Windsor police officers including Kent McMillan, also named in the Abouhassan case, had assaulted him when he was in Windsor. He suffered a gash to the forehead which required medical staples. He was charged with obstructing a police officer, but the Crown withdrew the charge. Jackson sued the police and settled out of court.

In the fourth instance, in 1994, Van Buskirk was accused, along with other officers, of beating three handcuffed men while taunting them with racial slurs. Two victims were charged with obstructing police, but were acquitted. One sued, but dropped his case for unknown reasons. Windsor police said Van Buskirk would be criminally charged with assault for the incident, but the case was never disclosed and the Police subsequently refused to comment when questioned by journalists.[16]

In 1998 Van Buskirk plead guilty to discreditable conduct and neglect of duty, for accompanying two topless Michigan women into a hotel room with a fellow officer, and telling headquarters they were on call for the ensuing five hours. He was docked 60 hours pay.

Abouhassan's lawyer expressed disbelief that Van Buskirk would not receive a suspension for any of the above incidents.[16]

Investigators also revealed other officers involved in the Abouhassan case had track records of assault and misconduct. Staff Sgt. Al Pizzicaroli, who worked with the police department's professional standards branch responsible for investigating the case, had previously in 1991 been witnessed assaulting a man with other officers. When citizens intervened in the assault, they too were assaulted, and the police made charges against them. The Court acquitted the accused and criticized the officers for misconduct. An internal investigation cleared the officers.

Inspector Randy Gould, named as a criminal investigator in the Abouhassan case, was found by an appeal court in 2002 to have beaten a confession out of a man convicted of manslaughter, in the presence of another officer.

Staff Sgt. Paul Bridgemann and Detective Pat Keane were alleged to have approached Dr. Abouhassan's lawyer about dropping the case, attempting to strike a deal in which charges against Dr. Abouhassan would be dropped if the Dr. dropped his charges.

Bridgemann had also been previously demoted in 1992 for discharging his firearm out a car window on the E.C. Row Expressway after becoming intoxicated in public with other officers.

Sgt. Mike LaPorte, a former Police Union executive, was the officer who filed the assault charges against Dr. Abouhassan in 2010. At the time he had retired and was therefore not subject to Police Act charges. LaPorte had his own track record of misconduct, previously engaging in a hit and run in 1993, hitting two parked cars after leaving a bar run by the Police Union.[16]

In the midst of the lawsuit launched by Dr. Abouhassan against the police, then-chief Gary Smith announced an early retirement, to be replaced by Al Frederick.[17] Van Buskirk was ultimately sentenced to 5 months in jail after pleading guilty to assault causing bodily harm.[18]

Missing cocaine evidence in 2013

In 2017, a court decision revealed that the Windsor Police Service had lost twenty-five thousand dollars worth of cocaine from their evidence vault in 2013. Chief Al Frederick claimed to have alerted the Police Services Board to the missing drugs in 2013, although board members told CBC News they could not recall being informed. Frederick claimed that the drugs were likely accidentally incinerated, rather than stolen.[19]

Shooting of Matthew Mahoney

In March 2018, two unnamed Windsor Police officers shot and killed 33 year-old Matthew Mahoney, a man experiencing mental health crisis and wielding a knife in a McDonalds. Mahoney was shot a total of seven times. In 2019 the Special Investigations Unit cleared the officers of any wrongdoing.

Mahoney's brother said he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and other health issues, and often "called the police to ask for help but had trouble expressing himself." They called for a coroner's inquest, claiming the SIU report was insufficient.[20][21]

Domestic disturbance call to Chief Frederick's house

In 2019, it was reported that a domestic disturbance 911 hang-up call was made from Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick's Windsor home. It was reported that Frederick and his wife Simone were the only people normally living in the home.

CBC investigators raised questions about transparency and how the police handled the situation. Mayor Drew Dilkens dismissed concerns and claimed the call was "not of a criminal nature".[22]

May 2019 incident

The family of a 27-year-old Windsor man issued a complaint that officers used excessive force when arresting him in May 2019. The man claimed he was assaulted both during his arrest and after being detained in a police vehicle. Footage showed the man in a transport vehicle swallowing blood and in severe pain and discomfort. The SIU cleared officers of any wrongdoing, claiming that while the man was struck to the body and head, that officers used necessary force to detain him. Police claimed they believed the man was armed, although it was later revealed he was not.[23]

Scholarship

A memorial scholarship named John Atkinson Scholarship Award for Police Foundations is yearly given by St. Clair College for students who aspire to become police officers. The scholarship was named for PC John Atkinson, who was shot and murdered on duty in 2005.

References

  1. ^ "Our New Police Headquarters" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 3, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  2. ^ Windsor Police Services Board and Windsor Police Services fonds.
  3. ^ a b "2018 Annual Report" (PDF). Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  4. ^ "Amherstburg Detachment". Windsor Police Service. Retrieved April 2, 2022.
  5. ^ "Leamington faces looming deadline as OPP service ends in less than a month". CBC News. May 15, 2021. Retrieved April 2, 2022.
  6. ^ Barker, Jacob (May 19, 2021). "Windsor police proposal too pricey for Leamington council; OPP service to continue". CBC News. Retrieved April 2, 2022.
  7. ^ "Jason Bellaire named new Windsor police chief". windsorstar. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  8. ^ Viau, Jason (May 1, 2019). "Windsor police among forces with highest number of human rights complaints in Ontario". CBC.
  9. ^ CBC News (June 10, 2020). "Calls to defund Windsor police surface amidst anti-Black racism protests". CBC News. Retrieved August 20, 2023.
  10. ^ "Our Facilities". Windsor Police Service. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  11. ^ "What We Do". Windsor Police Service. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  12. ^ "Home". Windsor Police Service. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  13. ^ "Windsor Police Pipe Band". Windsor Police Pipe Band. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  14. ^ "Abouhassan et al. v. Van Buskirk et al". Falconers LLP. September 29, 2011. Retrieved August 20, 2023.
  15. ^ CBC News Windsor (April 27, 2012). "Windsor police beating caught on tape". CBC News Windsor. Retrieved August 20, 2023.
  16. ^ a b c d Sacheli, Sarah (December 22, 2011). "Six Windsor police officers involved inbeating lawsuit have tainted records" (PDF). The Windsor Star. Retrieved August 20, 2023.
  17. ^ CBC News (December 22, 2011). "Windsor police chief retires amid controversy". CBC Windsor. Retrieved August 20, 2023.
  18. ^ CBC News (May 2, 2012). "Detective who beat blind doctor gets 5 months jail". CBC News. Retrieved August 20, 2023.
  19. ^ CBC News (March 31, 2017). "Windsor police chief says missing $25K in cocaine was accidentally incinerated". CBC News. Retrieved August 20, 2023.
  20. ^ "SIU clears Windsor police in fatal shooting, family wants coroner's inquest". Windsor. February 28, 2019. Retrieved August 20, 2023.
  21. ^ Média, Bell. "Brother Of Man Shot Dead By Police Speaks Out". www.iheartradio.ca. Retrieved August 20, 2023.
  22. ^ CBC News (February 14, 2019). "Domestic 911 call to Windsor police chief's house raises questions". CBC Windsor. Retrieved August 20, 2023.
  23. ^ Addison, Tom (June 4, 2020). "SIU clears Windsor police officers following an arrest made last year". CBC News. Retrieved August 20, 2023.
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Windsor Police Service
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