It’s being hailed as a milestone agreement between Windsor and Amherstburg that changes the look of policing in the region.

Officials with the Windsor Police Service have signed a 20-year contract to provide policing service to the Town of Amherstburg beginning in January 2019.

“This is an exciting time and opportunity for both communities," said Windsor police Chief Al Frederick. "The citizens of the City of Windsor and the Town of Amherstburg will stand to benefit from the many synergies and tangible public safety initiatives that arise when police services work collaboratively on a regional basis."

The proposal received the consent of the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) in July of 2018.

Since that time, police say over a dozen committees have been working diligently behind the scenes to ensure what is being proposed is in the best interest of the communities they serve.

"We are confident this contract will provide the residents of Amherstburg an enhanced level of service as well as significant financial savings," said Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo. "Signing this contract is the first step to moving forward, building on the exceptional commitment of the APS personnel to their community."

Amherstburg will incur initial transition costs and expects to achieve annual cost savings of nearly $570,000. That could mean as much as $16-million in savings over the 20-year agreement.

The deal also includes an option to revisit the agreement after five years.

The agreement could also lead to a savings in overhead costs of up to $200,000 a year for the City of Windsor.

Police say this historic milestone marks the beginning of an important pioneering partnership between communities. 

"This historic moment is reflective of what can be achieved when municipalities work together to the benefit of their residents," said Chair of the Windsor Police Services Board, Mayor Drew Dilkens. "We are hopeful that the enhanced level of public safety that will be experienced by the residents of Amherstburg will open the door for further discussions on regional policing in Essex County."

Police say Amherstburg residents should expect a seamless transition from their existing policing service levels, with the addition of specialized units including major crimes branch, police canine support, tactical emergency response, explosive disposal support, forensic identification and crime scene expertise, collision expertise as well as drugs and guns unit expertise.

Amherstburg's 30 officers will wear Windsor police uniforms with an Amherstburg detachment patch. The town's police chief will join the Windsor force. The deputy chief will not.

Windsor police are thanking the residents of Amherstburg who shared their opinions on policing and public safety. Police say the will continue to collaborate with the town to meet the policing expectations of the community and enhance public safety.