Delta Police Department spent almost a year keeping secret the name of a company it hired for damage control when the chief’s wife confronted a jogger with a garden hose and spewed insults.
On April 19, the force finally disclosed to theBreaker.news, under the freedom of information law, that it hired 1689986 Alberta Ltd. (operating as Navigator Ltd.) for the $42,000 crisis communications contract.
But the Delta Police refused to release a copy of the contract and invoices, claiming those were commercially sensitive.
Concerned about the rising Centennial Beach tide last June 6, jogger Kiran Sidhu scaled boulders outside Chief Neil Dubord’s $3.8 million luxury compound. Dubord’s wife Lorraine confronted Sidhu, a teacher from Surrey. The incident happened the week after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked Black Lives Matter marches against racism in policing across the U.S.
Protesters called for Dubord’s firing and scrawled anti-police graffiti in chalk outside the couple’s house. Surrey RCMP investigated and recommended Lorraine Dubord be charged with assault and uttering threats. But prosecutors opted for unspecified alternative measures instead.
Navigator’s website says it offers crisis, reputation and public affairs campaigns and lobbying services from offices in Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, Ottawa and London, U.K.
It is not clear exactly what Navigator did to get paid $42,000, because the lack of disclosure of the contract and invoices.
The Delta Police contract with Navigator Ltd. was let under then-deputy chief Norm Lipinski, who now heads the fledgling Surrey Police Service.
Since joining the Surrey department, Lipinski has approved $230,000 worth of contracts with several communications firms — including Navigator Ltd.
Unlike Delta, the Surrey Police Service released the contracts.
Lipinski and Surrey Police Board executive director Melissa Granum, his former civilian subordinate in Delta, are both named on the contract with the Navigator Ltd.
Navigator’s Dec. 8, 2020 crisis communications advice and support deal runs until Nov. 30, 2021 for $3,000 a month for as-and-when needed rapid response, real-time social and traditional media monitoring and analysis, support and briefings for media spokespeople and media outreach. The contract names Alex Shiff, a former aide to ex-BC Liberal environment minister Mary Polak, as Navigator’s Vancouver representative.
Lipinski and Granum also hired former Delta Police public information officer Sharlene Brooks on two communications strategies and planning contracts worth $90,000. The second expires May 31.
The biggest deal, worth $100,000, went to former E-Comm 9-1-1 spokeswoman Jody Robertson for Feb. 22-June 30 for communications planning.
Surrey Police Board also spent $4,000 on a one-year subscription to New York-based Critical Mention’s system that monitors coverage on news sites, blogs, social media, news radio and TV.
The Surrey police force is Mayor Doug McCallum’s brainchild to replace the RCMP. He had promised there would be boots on the ground by April 1 of this year. But the transition could take another three years.
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