An example of a Surrey Police cruiser, showcased at Mayor Doug McCallum���s State of the City Address at Civic Hotel in May of 2019. (File photo: Amy Reid)

An example of a Surrey Police cruiser, showcased at Mayor Doug McCallum���s State of the City Address at Civic Hotel in May of 2019. (File photo: Amy Reid)

Surrey Police Service a ‘done deal,’ mayor insists

Opponents say process is flawed, on eve of Tuesday’s police board meeting

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum insisted repeatedly that the Surrey Police Service, to replace the RCMP, is “a done deal.”

This was during Surrey council debate Monday night concerning six corporate reports dealing with the controversial policing transition which once again showcased how deeply fractured city council is on this issue, on the eve of Tuesday’s second Surrey Police Board Meeting.

McCallum said the “vast majority” of people he meets in Surrey say they are excited about the new police force.

“It’s overwhelming support in our community for our new police force,” he said. “In fact they’re so excited, they can’t wait to have it come here.”

“There is very huge excitement to see it come forward,” he said.

Councillor Brenda Locke was aghast.

“I must be travelling in much different circles than you,” she told McCallum. “I have not run into people that are happy at all, in fact quite the contrary.”

Locke questioned how 6,000 Keep the RCMP in Surrey signs on Surrey’s lawns “would equate in anybody’s mind” to acceptance of the transition process.

“To me, the process has failed from the beginning. It has been a harmful process, it has been divisive in our city. I think the plan was very poorly thought out,” she said. “The transition I think will go down in the textbooks for poly-sci students of what not to do with change management for local government.”

“This is not supported by the citizens of Surrey,” she said. “A flawed process that isn’t transparent is going to have a flawed outcome and I think that’s where we are today.”

READ ALSO: Surrey council gives nod to numerous towers, townhouses

Councillor Stephen Pettigrew noted that the Surrey Light Rail project championed by the previous council was also a “done deal,” until it was not.

“One of my big concerns is that the same thing is going to happen here. We’re spending so much time, staff time, and so many millions of dollars into this transition and it’s going to fail.”

Councillor Linda Annis said Surrey residents “deserve to be consulted through this process. After all, they are the taxpayers who will be paying for this transition.”

Councillors Alison Patton and Laurie Guerra voiced their support.

“I think change is scary for a lot of people,” Patton said. “I just want to say from a positive vote that this is one of the best days for the City of Surrey and I’m really excited about it.”

Guerra said she’s always supported “from the get-go the formation of our own Surrey Police Service and I’m thrilled to be supporting it still.”

Meantime, the board on Tuesday considered these same six reports related to establishing the Surrey Police Service, which were passed by council on a five-to-four vote. They include a framework for critical decisions, communicating the city’s priorities related to its goals and objectives for policing, interim financial procedures, approval of delegations, a freedom of information overview, and association memberships.

A police chief has yet to be hired. McCallum said recruitment is finished and “we will be going into the interview process very shortly.”

READ ALSO: Shooting in Newton linked to Lower Mainland gang conflict, Surrey police say

Terry Waterhouse, general manager of the policing transition, noted that 11,103 surveys were completed following “extensive public engagement” throughout the city and 90 per cent of respondents agreed with the proposition “I want a police department that is locally led.”

Board member Harley Chappell noted that of the city’s 23 community “engagements” staged, all of the information he received concerning the policing transition was through the media. “I know Semiahmoo and I know Katzie were not privvy to those conversations.

“That consultation still needs to happen,” he said.

“One suggestion or thought is to have, I know that we talked about this before, is the key points, key decisions, just a small snapshot of how we’ve gotten this far, where we’re at,” Chappell said.

“I think that’s one of the struggles that we have.”

Board member Elizabeth Model echoed that.

Board member Manav Gill asked Waterhouse if the board could get a breakdown of what has already been spent on the policing transition in 2020.

“All of the data, all the background information that we have, we would foresee providing to the finance committee and working with the finance committee on all of that information,” he replied. “And that would certainly include the breakdown of expenditures to date, in 2020.”

READ ALSO: City of Surrey was sued for nearly $900K for icy street crash

The board heard no delegations.

Melissa Granum, its executive director, said the board does not play a role in city council decisions.

“Any individual or groups whose position it is that the RCMP should remain the city’s police service is, again, not within the scope of the board.” Same goes for delegations related to a referendum, she said. “Those individuals should also approach city council.”

The board adopted a recommendation that any delegate wishing to address it in an open session “may do so by making a written request to the Executive Director at least seven days in advance of the Board meeting, specifying the topic on which the Delegate wishes to speak.”

As for Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy requests, Granum noted all City of Surrey records are controlled by city hall but when a chief constable is hired the new police force “will also be separate and distinct and have its own obligations under the FOIPPA.”

Before heading into a closed session, the board voted to join the Canadian Association of Police Governance and the BC Association of Police Boards.

“This would benefit the board to interact with other police governance bodies and individuals who have had many years of experience both in B.C. and across Canada,” Granum explained.

The Surrey Police Service is expected to have 805 police officers, 325 civilian employees,and 20 community safety personnel who will take on lower priority, less risky, and less complex duties in order to” better leverage” frontline officers, All told, 84 per cent of the officers will be constables.

Surrey RCMP, in comparison, has 1,145 employees, 843 of which are police officers.

At Surrey council’s inaugural meeting on Nov. 5th, 2018 it served notice to the provincial and federal governments it is ending its contract with the RCMP – which has policed these parts since May 1, 1951 – to set up its own force. The target date for the Surrey Police Service to take over from the Surrey RCMP is next April.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Tom on Twitter

City of Surreysurrey rcmp

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Retired Mission teacher and star CFL kicker charged for assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Alan Sweet taught in school district for 10 years, investigators seeking further witnesses

B.C. RCMP Lower Mainland District officer, Asst. Commissioner Stephen Thatcher presents RCMP blankets to (from left) Chief James Hobart, Chief Maureen Chapman, Chief Derek Epp and Chief Mark Point. (RCMP)
Historic agreement between Fraser Valley FN communities, RCMP to expand Indigenous role in policing

Community Safety Agreement builds relationship of ‘trust, communication and prevention,’ says Chief

Robbie Weir’s “Bee Happy In The Garden” is on display during Hope Arts Gallery’s Retrospective 12 show. (Photo/Hope Arts Gallery)
Hope Arts Gallery “Retrospective 12” show is open

Runs until March 28, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday

Hope Mountain Centre volunteers carry wood along the Dragon’s Back trail. The trail is all but ready for hiking as of the Hope Council’s Feb. 22 meeting, promising a challenge worth the “million dollar view of Hope,” said Kelly Pearce. (Photo/Hope Mountain Centre)
2020 a busy year for trails in ‘Hope’s backyard’: Mountain Centre

Program director Kelly Pearce recapped last year’s activities to council

District Hall, Hope (Photo/Adam Louis)
Council Preview for March 8

Meeting begins at 7 p.m. on Monday via Facebook

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

The family of injured Willoughby resident Ronald Gerald Jesso is hoping someone saw something that will help solve the mystery of how he came to be so badly hurt on the morning of Feb. 22. Jesso is still in hospital. (Jesso family/Special to Langley Advance Times)
An appeal to help solve the mystery of an injured Langley man

Family of Ronald Gerald Jesso asks witnesses to come forward

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Most Read