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HomeBusinessExclusive: Behind Surrey’s secret police ceremony

Exclusive: Behind Surrey’s secret police ceremony

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Inside the secret July 16 Surrey Police swearing-in (SPS)

Bob Mackin

The internal memo from the chief of the Surrey Police Service announcing the fledgling force’s first swearing-in ceremony made no mention of COVID-19 protocols to justify the closed-doors event.

The force, which may not replace the RCMP until 2023 or 2024, held a secret ceremony in the city council auditorium on July 16. 

“A calendar invite will be sent where you can RSVP,” said Chief Norm Lipinski in the June 30 memo, marked ‘not for further distribution’. “We are asking that this date and information be kept confidential so that our communications department can inform the public and media of this significant milestone for the Surrey Police Service.”

The ceremony invitation was issued later and said that it was a closed event due to COVID-19 restrictions. Families of officers and staff were sent a confidential livestream link to view live, based on the honour system.

“You may share the link below with your family members only,” said the directions. “Please ask them to keep this link confidential as this is a closed event that is not open to the public. It is important that we maintain the confidentiality of our employees, for both operational and personal reasons. We also ask employees and their family members to refrain from posting about this event on social media until after the media release goes out on Monday, July 19.”

Surrey Police chief Norm Lipinski and Mayor Doug McCallum on July 16 (SPS)

The guest list showed more than 100 were invited. But SPS kept secret the names of most of its employees, plus the names of a consultant, six members of the civic transition/implementation team, six city employees and a member of the police board.

Mayor Doug McCallum and three members of his four-councillor Safe Surrey Coalition caucus — including girlfriend Allison Patton — were invited.

Four opposition councillors were not, including the two biggest critics of McCallum’s plan to replace the RCMP, Brenda Locke and Jack Hundial.

On July 21, Locke announced she is running in a bid to defeat McCallum in the October 2022 mayoral election.

How much did the ceremony and after-party cost? Surrey Police says it won’t release that information unless theBreaker.news pays $90. theBreaker.news is appealing.

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