Could a referendum decide the future of policing in Amherstburg?

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CTV Windsor

Published Friday, February 16, 2018 6:03PM EST

Last Updated Friday, February 16, 2018 6:54PM EST

Policing has become a highly contentious issue in the town of Amherstburg and later this month, residents will learn whether the local police force will stay on duty or whether Windsor police will step in to provide the service.

But there’s another option on the table that could see this issue drag on even longer.

Council could defer the issue in a vote on Feb. 26, and members could then decide to hold a referendum on the issue, and let voters decide what to do in the next election.

Some residents think putting the question on the ballot is a great idea.

Cheryl MacLellan has lived in Amherstburg for 56 years. She supports the local police force, but she also wants council to make the decision.

“This has been dragging on long enough,” says MacLellan. “Enough public input.. meetings.. I think people that live in Amherstburg know the town and know what they want. It’s time to make a decision and move forward.”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo says emotions are running high, and the public meetings have shown that.

“This is definitely been one of those ‘you get threats’ issues,” says DiCarlo, but he wouldn’t elaborate about the threats to CTV News.

DiCarlo does admit he has flipped back and forth on the issue, but he won’t say which way he’s leaning.

The mayor says he wants to hear the results of public surveys, and the final numbers, in terms of savings for the town, estimated at $500,000 a year.

“Having it linger any longer is going to perpetuate some of bad feelings that have come along and I don’t think it’s fair to anyone,” says DiCarlo. “I believe we have all the information we need.”

Dicarlo says he’s been asked by some residents why the Windsor Police Service wouldn’t extend the timeline of its proposal.

The Mayor says firstly, he’s not even sure if they would. But secondly, He says the town set deadlines and it’s only fair to all of those involved to work within those timelines.

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