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

A worker is seen throwing a chicken in an undercover video in 2017 filmed by California-based animal rights activists Mercy For Animals.
Fraser Valley chicken abuse trial delayed until February

Originally scheduled for a jury trial, Sofina and Chilliwack company now face judge alone

Sheriff Avory Chapman was last seen Jan. 20 on Wellington Avenue in Chilliwack. (RCMP)
RCMP look for missing man last seen in downtown Chilliwack

21-year-old Sheriff Avory Chapman has been missing since Jan. 20

Chilliwack Law Courts. (Black Press file)
Man sentenced to 20 months for sexual interference in Mission

Will Laws Clark was 22 and victim was 13 at time offences began

Abbotsford youngster Hudson Poittris is hoping to raise money to provide students at his school friendship bracelets. (Submitted)
VIDEO: Abbotsford youth launches GoFundMe for friendship bracelets

Hudson Poittris, nine, hopes bracelets will increase inclusivity and kindness

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
COVID-19 outbreak declared over at Menno Home in Abbotsford

Long-term care home had 67 cases and 13 deaths since mid-November

Rose Sawka, 91, waves to her son through the window of a care home in Prince Rupert in October. Residents of the care home received their first vaccine dose Jan. 20. (K-J Millar/The Northern View)
B.C. care home visitor access to expand by March, Dix says

Staff, residents, essential visitors top priorities for vaccine

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) is looking into the death of man discovered Jan. 11 in east Maple Ridge. (Black Press files)
B.C.’s police watchdog investigating man’s death in Maple Ridge

Man was found dead Jan. 11 after recent contact with police

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Kyrell Sopotyk was drafted by the Kamloops Blazers in 2016 and played two seasons with the Western Hockey League club. (Photograph By ALLEN DOUGLAS/KTW)
Kamloops Blazer paralyzed in snowboarding accident sparks fundraiser for family

As of Jan. 24, more than $68,000 had been raised to help Kamloops Blazers’ forward Kyrell Sopotyk

Most Read