Mayor debuts Surrey Police logo, cruiser at State of the City address
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum unveiled potential logo and cruiser designs for his promised municipal police force on Tuesday, even though the city still needs provincial approval to move forward with its plans.
Speaking at his first State of the City address since returning to the mayor's chair, McCallum reiterated his commitment to replacing the RCMP with a new police department built from the ground up in Surrey.
"I have said it before and I will say it again: I have no quarrel with the men and women of the Surrey RCMP," he said. "But the fact remains that Surrey is the largest city in the country that does not have its own local police department."
The mayor then introduced a short video featuring staged images of Surrey Police officers in action, along with an SUV marked with a Surrey Police logo.
"This is a glimpse of what we have planned for the look of the Surrey Police," McCallum said.
The mayor once again suggested RCMP detachments are ultimately only accountable to Ottawa, while a municipal force with a municipal police board would have to answer more directly to residents.
Though the transition plan has yet to be delivered to the B.C. government for approval, McCallum said he expects to see officers from the new Surrey Police patrolling the streets by July 2020.
The city previously said it would submit the plan by the end of April. On Tuesday, a spokesperson said it would likely be delivered to the province within the next week weeks.
McCallum also repeated his assertion that the new force will only cost the city about 10 per cent more than the current RCMP detachment's budget of $151 million a year, a claim that has been challenged by some experts and observers.
"I have always said there will be a cost attached, and nothing has changed on that front. My view is that it will be around the 10 per cent range, and I stand by that," McCallum said.
One of the main arguments against the switch is that municipal officers are paid more than officers at RCMP detachments. According to numbers from the Ministry of Public Safety, Vancouverites spent $422 per capita on policing in 2016, while Surrey residents paid $272.
But McCallum said that issue would be moot "in a couple of years" anyway because of potential wage increases at the RCMP.
"The RCMP are moving to a pay scale that would put them on par with unionized city police. When that happens, those salary increases would be passed down to us, change or not," McCallum said.
The mayor also used the speech to highlight his progress on delivering on a number of campaign promises, including removing pay parking around Surrey Memorial Hospital and City Hall.
On the issue of marijuana legalization, McCallum said residents should not expect to see the local bylaw banning pot sales within the city limits to be changed "in the foreseeable future."
While it may be legal in our country, we are taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to the sale and growing of marijuana in Surrey," McCallum said. "In the meantime the bylaw prohibiting the sale of marijuana has not changed."
More to come…