Windsor Police Service and Board under investigation for potential 'poisoned work environment'

The Windsor Police Service (WPS) and Windsor Police Services Board are under investigation after multiple complaints from members of the service raised serious concerns about the workplace environment that include possible interference in legal proceedings.

The investigation is being led by the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC), an independent oversight agency that rules on policing services under the Police Services Act. 

The OCPC started to receive complaints in January and opened an investigation into on May 4. The investigation is being disclosed now ahead of the push for WPS to offer policing services to Amherstburg. 

The OCPC originally advised the investigation be kept confidential, according to a statement from the police. 

"The Chief and the Windsor Police Services Board have advised the Ontario Civilian Police Commission that they intend to fully co-operate with this investigation," reads a statement from the police.

'Poisoned work environment'

The statement included the terms of reference for the investigation from the OCPC but does not include specifics about the complaints, only stating that the complaints were received from multiple members of the WPS between January and April of 2018.

"These complaints raise serious concerns about the workplace environment of the WPS, the administration of the WPS, and the oversight provided by the Windsor Police Service Board."

The investigation will conducted with regard to subsection 31 (4) of the Police Services Act, which states that "the board shall not direct the chief of police with respect to specific operational decisions or with respect to the day-to-day operation of the police force."

The OCPC will look at if there has been any "improper interference in specific legal proceedings" and if that interference involved current members of the WPS and Windsor Police Services Board.

It will also investigate if a "poisoned work environment has been created" withing the WPS by current administration "in relation to workplace policies and/or accommodation requests." 

The OCPC will also investigate:

- the promotional process to decided if they are fair and transparent while ruling if the board exercises proper oversight

- if the potential hiring of relatives is handled in a fair and transparent

- if the board informed administration during the promotional process involving senior administration of issues relating to its mandate