The key provincial bureaucrat overseeing the Surrey police transition has quit, just over two weeks since Brenda Locke beat Doug McCallum for the Surrey mayoralty on a promise to keep the RCMP.
Wayne Rideout joined the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General in 2016 as deputy director of police services after a 34-year career in the RCMP. In 2021, he replaced former B.C. RCMP commanding officer Brenda Butterworth-Carr as the assistant deputy minister in charge of the Policing and Security Branch.
A prepared statement attributed to Solicitor General Mike Farnworth thanked Rideout for his time in the job, but did not shed light on why he departed.
“Since joining the Policing and Security Branch in January 2021, he has supported the government’s pandemic response, the police response to natural disasters, and new measures to combat organized crime. He has also played a critical role in laying the foundation of modernizing policing in British Columbia,” said the Farnworth statement. “I am proud of what he has accomplished in extraordinary, demanding times and we will miss him greatly. I am confident that the Branch will continue its high standard of support for policing and public safety in British Columbia.”
Locke ran on a platform to end the Surrey Police Service, McCallum’s municipal police force that was created to replace the RCMP detachment. She won by fewer than 1,000 votes in the Oct. 15 civic election.
In addition to managing the province’s RCMP contracts, Rideout also played a role in reversing a Vancouver Police Department budget freeze in early 2022 after an appeal from the police board. Rideout’s decision restored $5.7 million in funding after the December 2020 city council decision amid the “defund the police” movement.
Rideout joined the Mounties as a general duty officer in 1982 and climbed the ranks from detachments to provincial headquarters. He was officer in charge of the fledgling Integrated Homicide Investigation Unit from 2003 to 2008.
In 2007, after the Vancouver International Airport taser death of Robert Dziekanski, Rideout refused to let the public information officer correct the record when an eyewitness video emerged of the incident. A coroner’s court heard in 2018 that the decision sent Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre into a tailspin and he eventually died in 2013 of suicide.
Rideout was assistant commissioner in charge of criminal operations, investigative services and organized crime during the Canada Day 2013 Legislature pressure cooker bomb plot. What originally looked like an Islamist terror scheme turned out to be an RCMP “Mr. Big” sting operation involving two drug addicts.
Three years later, a judge stayed the charges against John Nuttall and Amanda Korody due to entrapment. The couple filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court last August, accusing the federal and B.C. governments and Crown prosecutors of violating their constitutional rights.
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