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HomeBusinessExclusive UPDATE: Senior Surrey cops spent a quarter-million-dollars on new vehicles

Exclusive UPDATE: Senior Surrey cops spent a quarter-million-dollars on new vehicles

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Bob Mackin

You get a car! You get a car! You get a car!

A version of Oprah Winfrey’s famous 2004 giveaway happened for the seven most-senior officers at Surrey Police Service, which may not replace the RCMP in Surrey until 2023 or 2024.

Oprah Winfrey’s famous 2004 car giveaway (Harpo Studios)

A day after refusing to provide the costs, the force-in-waiting revealed July 30 to theBreaker.news that it spent almost a quarter-million dollars on the seven vehicles.

The total cost of Lipinski’s 2020 Nissan Rogue is $37,521.12, which is almost $7,000 more than the quote he approved in Jan. 4 internal email.

Deputy Chief Mike LeSage received a 2019 Ford Explorer ($36,759.45), while the other Deputy Chiefs, Jennifer Hyland and Todd Matsumoto, received 2020 Ford Escapes, $36,758.40 and $36,540, respectively.

B.C. RCMP commander Brenda Strachan (left) and Surrey Police Chief Norm Lipinski.

The three Superintendents — Lavinder Mangat, Alison Good and Michael Procyk — were issued 2021 Nissan Altimas at a cost of $34,128.04 each.

Lipinski did not respond for comment. 

The purchases were from the department’s annual budget and did not need board approval. 

Surrey Connect Coun. Brenda Locke wondered why the officers need taxpayer-funded vehicles to commute to the office.

“It seems an extraordinary amount of money for police officers that aren’t going anywhere,” Locke said in an interview. “This police force is not operational, it’s not working, I’m unclear why they’d feel such a need to have a vehicle.”

Locke has announced she will run for mayor against incumbent Doug McCallum in October 2022, pledging to stop the cop swap if elected. In the meantime, an Elections BC-certified petition campaign is underway in a bid to give Surrey voters the final say on whether to replace the RCMP.

Coun. Brenda Locke (Surrey Connect)

Surrey taxpayers are also paying for McCallum’s $46,000 Buick Envision SUV after McCallum decided that a $14,500-a-year vehicle allowance wasn’t good enough for him.

Meanwhile, theBreaker.news asked the Surrey Police Service for all of Lipinski’s expenses reports since he was hired last November.

But it only disclosed $295 worth of dry cleaning bills in a July 29 freedom of information release.

Surrey Police Chief Norm Lipinski’s dry cleaning receipts (SPS/FOI)

Lipinski billed for dry cleaning of shirts, four or five at a time, at a Yaletown dry cleaner. Expense reports were approved by police board executive director Melissa Granum.

Like McCallum, Lipinski fills up at the works yard gas pumps by using a special token. But expense figures for fuelling his Nissan Rogue were not provided by the Surrey Police Service.

Locke called Lipinski’s spending “ridiculous.”

“Are you kidding me? We’re paying for the dry cleaning for a person’s personal clothes who makes in excess of $350,000-a-year,” she said. “That is outrageous.”

Locke said the vehicle buying spree and Lipinski’s dry cleaning bills are “exactly why I want a line-by-line accounting of the Surrey Police Service, they’re spending money on things that I think are not warranted at this point.” 

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