Art Reaumes political career in Windsor lasted until 1967,
his reputation was never the same after the police commission probe.
Some of the only salient information revealed during the probe was
in relation to Reaumes character, which, until the allegations
of moral laxity against the police force, had been considered unassailable.
the day before the probe it was revealed that Reaume had met privately
with four members of the police association two nights earlier urging
them to convince the police force to endorse a resolution denouncing
Hanrahans allegations of moral laxity the very allegations
he was appointed to investigate.
police force, surprisingly, turned down Reaumes proposed resolution
by a 74 to 12 margin. Instead, they issued a statement of complete
confidence in Chief Renaud and Deputy Chief Neale.
vehemently denied the story told by the officers, saying only that
he had met with four officers to advise them no statement should
be made during the course of the probe, but it was within the police
associations rights to seek counsel to protect their name.
mayor was an ex-officio member of the police commission board,
explains Kulisek. If it wasnt a statutory provision
for the mayor to be on the board, he would have been kicked off.
It didnt work out well for (Reaume). The probe tarred him
with the brush as well.
577 Pelissier illegal gambling house operating
in plain sight.
Heightened media and provincial scrutiny during the probe
did little to slow down the drinking, prostitution and
gambling in Windsors dens of iniquity. The following
quotes appeared in the March 14, 1950 edition of the Windsor
Daily Star: The devil himself lacks the persistency,
defiance, the outright gall of bordello and bootleg operators...The
open defiancy displayed in Windsors tenderloin districts
still goes unchallenged by cities of comparable size...There
was a meaty influx of American Army personnel in the city
and the solicitous women in bars enjoyed a veritable field
the second day of the probe, Mrs. James Shearon, a Windsor Avenue
resident, stood up in the large gallery and made an unscheduled
allegation. She claimed Mayor Reaume had accepted graft, in the
form of hush money from her brother, a slot machine
operator, in 1933 when Reaume was Mayor of Sandwich. Reaumes
only response was that the Mrs. Shearon and her brother would have
to appear on the stand and make the allegations public before any
action could be taken.
was several years after the Windsor police scandal that the important
roll Albert Howard Bert Weeks played was revealed.
A watch repairman and jewellery shop owner, Weeks formed the Citizens
Action Committee which pressured the municipal and provincial governments
to investigate police indifference to widespread lawbreaking
Weeks met secretly with OPP officers in Detroit on several occasions
to pass on information regarding Windsor police corruption.
Taken back to Toronto, the information lead directly to Attorney
General Dana Porters scathing report on policing in Windsor.
Weeks ran with his success, gaining public office as an alderman
in 1954. After an unsuccessful attempt at provincial office, Weeks
was again elected to Windsor city council in 1965.
In 1975 Weeks was elected Mayor of Windsor, serving through 1982.
His fiscal responsibility was often met with derision, but his three
terms as mayor marked a period of prosperity and balanced, conscientious
spending at City Hall, something that hasnt been seen in Windsor
Art Reaumes (above) career was
tarred with the scandal brush.
BertWeeks (above) three terms
as mayor marked a period of prosperity and balanced, conscientious
spending at City Hall, something that hasnt been seen
in Windsor since.
months passed since the probe. Renaud and Neale remained as the
citys top cops. Magistrate MacMillan and Judge Gordon continued
on as top police commissioners. With the exception of a few crack
downs and raids at certain bookie joints, Windsors gambling,
bootlegging and sex trades continued unabated.
on September 14, 1950, a report from provincial inspectors Frank
Kelly and W.H. Lougheed was released by Attorney General Porter.
It was a scathing denunciation of police work in Windsor. It called
for round-the-clock morality policing, an increase of
50 police constables, and an immediate end to the vice trade in
of the troubles of the Windsor police department can be laid on
the doorstep of the morality detail, the report read. It
is difficult to understand why the executive officers should permit
this important phase of law enforcement to become neglected and
undermanned, especially since the whole administration has been
under fire repeatedly in the press
The provincial inspectors made six recommendations:
1. A permanent morality should be created and put under the direction
of an inspector. It should be adequately staffed to provide 24-hour
morality policing and raiding parties.
2. That members of the morality squad be carefully selected from
the force and paid a wage equal to the detective force.
3. That the police building be significantly enlarged to accommodate
larger staff. Sub stations were to be built to patrol the citys
south east side.
4. That 50 additional constables be added to the force immediately.
5. That the chief and deputy chief be required to give written reports
of their activities to the police commission board.
6. That the police beats in the citys business section be
revamped so foot constables are directly responsible for locked-up
The Windsor Daily Star published the complete text of the condemning
OPP report in a two-page spread.
Magistrate Angus W. MacMillan and
Judge Albert J. Gordon resigned from the police commission.
Windsor Police Association
President Gilbert Ouellette resigned, but said it was not
connected to the probe and the shake-up.
The Windsor Crown Attorney,
E.C. Awrey, was removed as well.
Chief Claude Renaud and Deputy Chief W.H. Neale, both with
over 30 years of service with the force, were forced to retire.
Both men were given full pension rights.
upon the release of the provincial report, Magistrate MacMillan
and Judge Gordon resigned from the police commission, eager to protect
their courtroom reputations. The Windsor Crown Attorney, E.C. Awrey,
was removed as well.
Windsor Police Association President Gilbert Ouellette resigned
too, but said it was not connected to the probe and the shake-up.
Less than three weeks later, the newly formed police commission,
now under the direction of local businessman Lt.-Col. Roland Harris
and Judge Archibald Cochrane, met for the first time and called
Chief Renaud to the stand.
Renaud was immediately singled out for massive incompetence when
it was revealed through questioning that he knew very little about
the operations of his own department, particularly the beefed up
Renaud, who was warned several times about smoking cigarettes while
being questioned, told the commission the morality squad was Deputy
Chief Neales territory, which was in direct contradiction
to policies laid out in the provincial recommendations. Renaud also
had officers remove identification numbers from their uniforms.
Mayor Reaume, still an ex-officio member of the commission, attempted
to defend his Chief, but his efforts were for naught.
Further investigation of the activities of the top cops revealed
Neale was the owner of the Police Equipment Company which sold $2,500
worth of police equipment to the City of Windsor on an annual basis.
Under oath, Renaud denied any knowledge of Neales interests
in Police Equipment Co. There was ample evidence to the contrary.
On October 25, Chief Renaud and Deputy Chief Neale, both with over
30 years of service with the force, were forced to retire.
Both men were given full pension rights.
Mayor Reaume also denied any knowledge of Neales connection
to the company and let his highest ranking policemen take the fall.
OPP Inspector Edwin McNeill was appointed as interim chief.
Within days, the Windsor Police Scandal of 1950 was nowhere to be
found in the newspapers, all but forgotten and left for historians
to quibble about the details.
The police scandal was part of a general drive for reform
and moral purification in Windsor, says Kulisek. The
full disclosure policies of the 1950s were meant to
help in municipal healing.
City Police Chief Claude Renaud: forced
to retire due to massive incompetence
was in the wake of the scandal that Windsors municipal government
was reformed to include a city manager or chief administrator. In
a backlash against Mayor Reaume, the ward system was adopted, ending
a tradition of at-large politics.
A tradition that didnt die is that of the public expecting
a certain level of ethical behavior from elected municipal officials
and city administrators. It took the provinces intervention
to get the mess straightened out 52 years ago.
Was it naive to expect the era of full disclosure and responsibility
would last 52 years?
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