It’s not unusual for people who work in Surrey to live somewhere else. They have a term for that: commuting.
Therefore it should be no big surprise that an increasing number of people being appointed to positions of power and authority over the new Surrey Police Service live in other cities.
Unless, of course, you factor in a civic election campaign selling point for why Surrey should have its own force in the first place, and that’s Doug McCallum’s insistence that Surrey Mounties don’t have enough connection to the residents they serve and protect.
“We really need to get a police force that is in our communities, live in our communities and stay,” McCallum told the Now-Leader, for example, during the campaign, in a story published online Sept. 20, 2018.
Yet here we are. While no street cops have yet been hired to the Surrey Police Service, its top two officers so far – Chief Constable Norm Lipinski and Deputy Chief Constable Jennifer Hyland reside in Yaletown and Maple Ridge, respectively.
Moreover, Harley Chappell – chairman of the Surrey Police Board’s governance committee – lives in Chilliwack and Elizabeth Model – chairwoman of the board’s finance committee – resides in Burnaby, while Melissa Granum, the board’s executive director, lives in Ladner.
Which is all fine. You really want the best, most qualified people and that should not necessarily be based on where they rest their head at night.
It does, however, fly in the face of the mayor’s pitch for building a hyper-local police force. Two more deputy chief constables have yet to be hired. Will they be taxpaying Surrey residents? If not – and that may be well and fine – it will put more distance between McCallum’s vision for local involvement and the reality Surrey is seeing, hire by hire and appointment by appointment, unfold before this city.