Director of Police Services quits abruptly amidst Surrey Police Service controversy; ministry says ‘no connection’ (Thursday update)

FORMER RCMP Deputy Commissioner Brenda Butterworth-Carr who was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister and Director of Police Services, Policing and Security Branch, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, in March of 2019 and who was supervising the new Surrey Police Service has quit abruptly.

The VOICE wrote on Wednesday that “the timing is rather suspicious because the unexpected move comes just when Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General has demanded an explanation from his ministry officials about the controversy regarding an apparent lack of proper vetting of those who were selected for the Surrey Police Board.”

We also said: “The controversy about the appointment of Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell to the Surrey Police Board has embarrassed the NDP government and shocked British Columbians. Vancouver Sun’s Kim Bolan last week caused a sensation when she revealed that Chappell attended a 2018 memorial service for the wife of a founder of the Hells Angels White Rock chapter and posed for several photos with Hells Angels members. Also, in November 2019, Chappell posted a birthday tribute to his dad Phillip Chappell that included a photo of Phillip wearing the Hells Angels “colours.”

“Chappell has said that his dad left the Hells Angels in 1992 and that he personally has no connection to them. But that does not seem to reassure many Surrey-ites and others who note that it is all about perception.”

However, the ministry tells The VOICE: “A comprehensive vetting process did take place for all members of the Surrey Police Board. There is no connection to the resignation of ADM Butterworth-Carr.  ADM Butterworth-Carr’s  decision to leave her position is solely due to personal and family circumstances.”

The ministry also said: “The Surrey Police Board has been established and the Board as a whole is leading the transition. This includes collaboration and cooperation with all key partners to ensure an orderly transition that prioritizes public safety.”

Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, said in a statement: “Brenda Butterworth-Carr has been an exceptional leader during her tenure as ADM and Director of Police Services.  I am sorry to see Brenda leave the provincial government but  I respect her decision to focus on an unanticipated personal and family matter. Since joining the Policing and Security Branch (Spring 2019), she has led the largest police model transition in Canada; changing the core policing model in the province and developing new policing standards. I am proud of the work she has done and we will miss her greatly. I am confident that the Branch will continue its high standard of support for policing and public safety in British Columbia.”

In a letter to her “colleagues” dated December 16, Butterworth-Carr wrote that she is leaving “to focus on personal matters and spend time with my family.” She said: “I am writing to advise you that after thoughtful consideration, I have made the difficult but necessary decision to leave the Provincial Government, and my role as Assistant Deputy Minister and Director of Police Services, early in the New Year to focus on personal matter and spend time with my family.”

She added: “Over the next few weeks, plans for the transition to a new ADM and Director of Police Services will be confirmed, and this information will be shared with you as soon as it is available.”