NUMEROUS officersfrom the RCMP (from both Surrey and other detachments), as well as from Vancouver Police Department and other municipal police forces are busy touching up their resumes as they look forward to joining the Surrey Police Department that will be recruiting hundreds of police officers – and the Vancouver Police Department that will be losing a large number of their officers to the new Surrey Police.
Indeed, work is in full swing for the formation of the newest police department in Canada. Surrey is the largest city in Canada without its own police force. In fact, it will be the largest city in B.C. in a few years, overtaking Vancouver.
Terry Waterhouse, General Manager of the Policing Transition, told Surrey Council this week that the Executive Director of the Surrey Police Board has been hired. In fact, three weeks ago
That person is Melissa Granum, who had been with Delta Police. Besides Granum, there are 13 other full-time individuals on the policing transition.
McCallum had also announced: “Applications for the Surrey Police Board have closed, and the interview process is underway to select the members for SPD’s Police Board.”
As this newspaper reported two weeks ago, Vancouver Police Board’s Finance Committee Chair, Barj Dhahan, warned Vancouver Mayor and Councillors that their police force “faces an impending threat to retaining talented staff, as invariably a portion of its sworn officers and civilian professionals will transfer to the new Surrey Police Department.”
He pointed out: “Currently 41% of VPD staff live in Surrey and its neighboring communities, and the potential for staff to transfer is driven primarily by the area in which staff live.”
Consider some facts:
There are many RCMP officers who are posted in remote regions of Canada and are looking for a stable posting in a city like Surrey or Vancouver.
Then there are officers from municipal police forces who would prefer to work in Surrey or Vancouver for various reasons.
Indeed, the police forces of the two largest cities of B.C. will see quite a change, to put it mildly.
Interestingly, the Glacier Media group of newspapers this week carried an article in which they quoted Vancouver Police Union boss Sgt. Ralph Kaisers as saying that anecdotally, up to 200 of the department’s 1,300 officers could be lost to Surrey.
Kaisers told the media group’s Mike Howell that he’d heard other high-ranking Vancouver cops have discussed applying to the Surrey force and that would open up opportunities for junior officers in Vancouver to move up in the ranks.
Kaisers said he found that other officers in the Lower Mainland were interested to apply to Surrey. That, of course, would mean other municipalities would then have to recruit cops as well.
He also pointed out the practicality of working close to where an officer lives, telling Howell: “If they live in Abbotsford, Langley, Maple Ridge, Surrey, it’s going to cut down 30 minutes each way a day. So, an hour a day, every day.”
Interestingly, he also pointed out to Howell that Surrey has many of the same crime and social issues that have attracted officers to work in Vancouver.
Kaisers told him: “And then there’s opportunity for advancement and promotion. No sooner than they get up and running, there’ll be all sorts of competitions for detectives positions, etc.”
MEANWHILE, the anti-Surrey Police Department forces are still desperately making undemocratic demands and resorting to dirty tactics, including trying to take full advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis to scare Surrey-ites into keeping the RCMP in Surrey.
What is seen as indirect political interference by the RCMP is causing great resentment and Canadians are wondering why the RCMP bosses in B.C. and Ottawa are keeping mum. Is it because, as many Canadians suspect, they are encouraging if not actually directing this movement? For example, just recently a former senior RCMP officer indulged in a vicious personal attack against McCallum. Quite obviously he must have got clearance from the RCMP bosses to reveal confidential matters.
Of course, if the RCMP bosses are hiding their heads in the sand once again, it will not come as any surprise to Canadians who are still reeling from the horrific sexual harassment that RCMP female officers and municipal staff experienced for decades until it suddenly blew up in their face. In fact, the millions and millions of dollars that we taxpayers have to pay now to the victims of these accused male RCMP officers would have more than covered all the expenses for the transition to a Surrey Police Force plus the hiring of many more officers.
Here are the facts:
1. Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum and seven of his Safe Surrey Coalition members won the election fair and square on the pledge that they would form a Surrey police force to replace the RCMP. In fact, all the eight new Councillors, including the lone one from Surrey First, voted to ditch the RCMP at the very first Council meeting.
2. The Police Act says that any city with a population of more than 5,000 can decide what type of police force they want. So, when the City of Surrey approached the Provincial Government with its proposal, the latter had no option but to give the go-ahead. In spite of three Councillors ditching McCallum’s group, the mayor still controls the majority vote in Surrey Council.
3. Among the tactics that the pro-RCMP forces started resorting to was the call for a referendum on the change in policing. However, legally, only the City can authorize such a referendum – the Province or the federal government cannot. Yet despite this fact, the RCMP bosses have been apparently inciting their supporters to carry on with that demand.
Of course, as this newspaper has pointed out several times, what came as a slap in the face of those who had mounted this fierce campaign to discredit McCallum was a new Research Co. poll in January that showed that the mayor’s approval rating was 50 per cent. The poll also found that the current administration in Surrey had a higher ranking than the previous one on issues such as promoting tourism (from 39% to 64%), dealing with transportation (from 24% to 57%) and enhancing quality of life (from 36% to 68%). The poll showed that Surrey has done a good job on all fronts. The data was statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age and gender – as well as different areas of the city for fairness.