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Monday September 22nd, 2014

Posted at 10:16am

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Police in the Windsor region are the third-most overstaffed metro area in Canada according to a new study.

“Saint John, New Brunswick, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Windsor, Ontario have the least efficient staffing levels,” read a line in the study, published early Monday by the Fraser Institute.

The study said the Windsor “census metropolitan area,” which includes Windsor, Lakeshore, LaSalle, Tecumseh and Amherstburg, burdened taxpayers with overstaffed police departments.

The report’s author, Lakehead University professor Livio Di Matteo, said taxpayers are on the hook in several cities.

“Police fulfill a fundamental role in society and protect law-abiding citizens from criminals. But taxpayers can face higher costs for police than the crime rate or other socio-economic factors warrant,” he said.

The study did not mention specific police departments such as the Windsor Police Service, LaSalle Police, Amherstburg Police, or the Essex County OPP, but instead focused only on data from the wider Windsor CMA.

It used data from Statistics Canada over a 10-year period to calculate the optimal number of police officers in Canada’s metropolitan areas.

According to the report, the Windsor CMA has 181 police officers per 100,000 people, but should only have 138 officers per 100,000 according to Di Matteo’s calculations.

“While more police can lead to lower crime but at some point, increased spending on additional police officers has little impact on crime reduction,” said Di Matteo.

Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick stresses that the study did not compare between police services in Canada.

Frederick said the report used data from the year 2011 and “in no way accurately reflects the 2014 staffing levels in the City of Windsor.”

He said 2011 officer staffing levels were 466 but in September 2014, that number fell by 26 sworn officers to 440.

Frederick also said the report had difficulty considering local circumstances.

“Such local circumstances in Windsor are Casino Windsor, bringing in thousands of people a day into the downtown core,” he said. “The Windsor Police Service receives full funding from the Province of Ontario for twenty-one sworn officers in relation to the Casino. These funded officers are included in our staffing levels utilized by the Fraser Institute.”

“Secondly, the concentrated number of liquor licence establishments in our downtown core, a result of the proximity to the State of Michigan with a drinking age of 21, requires significant police staffing and presence on a sustained basis,” said Frederick.

“These two local circumstances were not considered in the report.”

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