I am a retired RCMP member with 39 years experience. I have policed Surrey in a command role, have been a past resident of Surrey and have also served with the Delta Police Department. So I guess it is okay for me to have an opinion on the topic.
I served as the Surrey RCMP Operations Officer from July 1999 to July 2001 and occasionally the Acting Officer in Charge of Surrey Detachment. Those were back in the days when Mayor McCallum was Mayor the first time. You know, before he was voted out.
We had quite a ride of it back in the day when dealing with him. If the walls could only speak.
I have read and listened to his rhetoric and untruths about the RCMP and to this point have remained silent.
In Maclean’s magazine, they note McCallum believes Surrey long ago outgrew the RCMP, which has policed the city since 1951. He says residents are prepared to pay a bit more for a municipal force, allowing enough ofﬁcers who are fully invested in the community to be hired and trained for urban policing.
Wow, a bit more. That is an understatement and while the exact cost of the transition is still not clear, I would urge City of Surrey residents to persist in getting an accurate dollar figure from their Mayor and Council. The devil will be in the details.
“The RCMP are trained to do mostly rural policing in Canada. They still are controlled by Ottawa.” (Doug McCallum). Another bogus statement and those in Surrey have heard their past and current OIC’s (Chiefs) comment on this claim. The statement is further shown to be bovine scat in that if McCallum thought the RCMP were not suited for municipal policing, why on earth would he then be so intent and reliant on hiring as many RCMP members as he can to create his own SPD?
Do your homework folks and check the course training standard for the B.C. Justice Institute Police Program against the RCMP Cadet Training Program Course Training Standard. JIBC trains police officers for large and small departments in B.C., as does the RCMP for large and small detachments across Canada.
I have heard comments attributed to McCallum that he wants police officers who are invested in and connected to the community. When I was in Surrey I served on local boards of governance, my wife taught in the Surrey School District and our kids went to school in Surrey and later worked in Surrey. When little Heather Thomas was abducted in Cloverdale, where we lived, I was out on my own time looking for her. Is that the connection or investment he was looking for?
And what about the several members of the RCMP who have given their lives while serving the citizens of Surrey. Is that not invested or connected to the community enough for the Mayor?
We have heard figures of only 20% of VPD members live within the City of Vancouver. Surely that does not make the other 80% not invested or connected. And please don’t get me wrong. This is not an us and they situation, but rather about facts as they do matter.
I have often wondered what it was that put the RCMP in McCallum’s cross hairs? I thought maybe it was related to a speeding ticket on the Crescent Beach Road where the officer signed it with “Surrey RCMP Traffic Section”. McCallum directed the RCMP to close down the traffic section and move them to other duties. The Chief of the day told him that was not going to happen. McCallum persisted.
At the time, the Surrey Traffic Section consisted of about 25 members engaged in traffic enforcement and accident investigation. Not every police officer likes doing traffic work, and it is important to have a component of your police service engaged in directed traffic law enforcement. Mayor McCallum did not agree. There was a small conference at about the same time at the Guildford Sheraton. The main speaker was the Chief of Toronto Metro Police, Julian Fantino. Mayor McCallum attended as a guest. During a Q&A Mayor McCallum stood up and said that his Chief had guys wasting time on traffic duty when they were needed elsewhere in his view. Fantino responded: “Mr. Mayor, traffic law enforcement is critical to a policing service and integral to safe homes and safe communities” and that he did not agree with the Mayor’s position. Mayor McCallum sat down and that was the end of cancelling the traffic section.
We sent out a press release one afternoon to the effect that there had been a very bad injury MVA at the intersection of 184th and #10 Hwy and that traffic was not moving. Mayor McCallum called over and asked what was the purpose in sending out this negative to Surrey news release. It was explained to him that it was to alert motorists via the media that traffic was not moving and to stay clear and pick another route. He hung up.
Or then there was the time his office called after a press release was issued about a bad guy that was dangerous to the public peace and told us not to send those out as it made Surrey look bad. We tried to explain the necessity in warning the public and we continued to send them out. Yes, safe homes and safe communities.
Maybe he remained mad over this debacle. If you do some research, you will find that in 2000 or 2001, the following unfolded. Mayor McCallum was at a sporting event in Surrey. Some local seniors had parked in a manner in which access to a fire hydrant was blocked. As we learned, a Surrey Bylaw Officer pulled up and was in the process of ticketing the offending vehicles. As the story went, the Mayor stepped in and openly challenged the Bylaw Officer and told him to back down. A RCMP member was nearby heard this and piped up that the Mayor should leave the Bylaw Officer to do his job. There was some verbal back and forth.
The RCMP member was so annoyed, he actually filed a self generated police report. Further, he made a copy of the report in his frustration and in while still in his uniform drove to the office of the Surrey Now/Leader in his police car, walked in, said nothing and dropped a copy of the report on the receptionist’s desk. They published a story in the newspaper and the Mayor was upset. He complained and we followed up at our end and had to administer informal discipline to the RCMP member for failing to safeguard a police report.
In our dealings with him back then, it was always about the power, control and the ability to influence. There was a Public Safety Committee, but in my view he just paid it lip service and gave directions and exercised decisions from the hip either personally or via his CAO.
He would sometimes come into Public Safety Committee meetings, stand there and make statements and quasi directions and then leave. No decorum and no discussion. The PSC Chairperson would just look over and shake her head.
He must figure that when he has his hands on the entire police force as the Chair of the Police Board that it will be all “sunshine, wide roads and shallow ditches” with everything going his way. I truly believe he wants all of the “launch codes” to himself.
VPD have a big traffic unit…I wonder if SPD will as well (me laughing).
In closing, attached are a couple of pictures of the ceremony where the 50 years of RCMP policing Surrey was celebrated. I was the Acting OIC at the time. The gentlemen in plain clothes were some of the original RCMP members who worked that first shift on the night of the turnover from the old BCPP to the RCMP. I am pretty sure those fellows were then and are still invested and connected to the community they started with over 50 years prior.
(Editor’s note: Reprinted from the Keep the RCMP in Surrey campaign Facebook page. theBreaker.news is extending an invitation for Mayor Doug McCallum to respond.)
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