You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

'All eyes on Surrey' policing transition, Mayor says as board unveiled

Vancouver Sun logo Vancouver Sun 4 days ago Dan Fumano
a man in a suit standing in front of a car: The city Surrey, which is replacing its current RCMP service with a municipal force, now has its first police board. © NICK PROCAYLO The city Surrey, which is replacing its current RCMP service with a municipal force, now has its first police board.
Replay Video

The unveiling of Surrey’s inaugural police board marks a milestone in the city’s transition from the RCMP to a municipal force, a process Mayor Doug McCallum believes is being watched across the continent.

“Policing, really, in North America, is changing as we speak,” McCallum said at a press conference Monday to mark the provincial government’s appointment of seven members to Surrey’s first police board. “We have a golden opportunity in Surrey to change the way policing is done, certainly across Canada and maybe even in North America.”

“I can say very clearly: all eyes in policing in North American are on Surrey right now,” McCallum said. “We’re developing a very innovative, proactive, sort of a new, modern type of police service in our city, and people are really interested in that.”

The transition is moving forward at a time of widespread conversations about police reform around North America. McCallum said he has fielded calls from leaders in other parts of Canada interested in learning more about Surrey’s police transition, and as far away as Texas and Florida.

The creation of a Surrey Police Department was a key pillar of McCallum’s 2018 mayoral campaign. Immediately after the election, Surrey’s new council voted unanimously to terminate their agreement with the RCMP and transition to a municipal department.

Some of those councillors, though, have since been raising questions and criticisms about the police transition and how much it will cost.

There are other critical voices in the community too, including the Keep the RCMP in Surrey campaign, which has circulated a petition that now has thousands of signatures.

The National Police Federation, the labour relations organization representing Canada’s RCMP members, issued its own statement Monday calling on the newly appointed Surrey Police Board to “finally address key unanswered questions” about the policing transition.

In the press release, federation president Brian Sauvé said: “Members of the public have been left in the dark about the true cost of the plan, as well as key details that could have a serious impact on public safety in Surrey.”

The seven appointees announced by B.C.’s Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General to oversee the city’s transition to a municipal police department are: Harley Chappell, elected Chief of the Semiahmoo First Nation; Cheney Cloke, director of Fraser Health Authority; Elizabeth Model, CEO of Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association; James Carwana, a mediator and arbitrator; Jaspreet Sunner, lawyer and labour relations representative for Hospital Employees’ Union; Manav Gill, manager of clinical operations for the Fraser Health Authority; and Meena Brisard, regional director of Canadian Union of Public Employees.

They’ll join McCallum, who will chair the board, and Bob Rolls, a former deputy chief with the Vancouver Police Department who was earlier appointed to the board by Surrey council.

The next step in the city’s transition plan will be for the new board to hire a chief constable.

The proposed operating model for the Surrey Police Department is for 805 police officers, down from the 843 RCMP officers in the current Surrey detachment.

It’s estimated the annual operating budget for the Surrey Police Department will be $192.5 million in 2021, which is 10.9 per cent more than the estimated RCMP policing budget for that year ($173.6 million).

with files from Scott Brown

dfumano@postmedia.com

twitter.com/fumano

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Vancouver Sun

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon