Norm Lipinski has been named Surrey’s Chief Constable of the Surrey Police Service.
Lipinski, who has more than 25 years of experience, will be taking on the role in the coming weeks, according to a release from the Surrey Police Board Friday (Nov. 20).
“I think it’s fair to say that we are in a new era of policing, and what that means to me first and foremost, is a community policing model,” said Lipinski, adding that he started in Edmonton where “essentially, I cut my teeth on developing and implementing a very community-based, strong community-based policing model.”
He said he then worked with the RCMP where he learned about “relationship policing.”
Lipinski has most recently served as deputy chief of the Delta Police Department and is a former assistant commissioner for the RCMP’s E-Division in B.C. He was also chairman of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police’s ethics committee and participated in the first-ever study of ethics in Canadian policing, which started in 2009, that included a national survey with over 10,000 respondents in 31 Canadian police services, as well as 80 interviews and a literature review.
Carleton University’s Dr. Stephen Maguire and Dr. Lorraine Dyke conducted the study, with financial support from CACP and the Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership.
“Police chiefs across the country wanted a comprehensive look at evolving issues, like the importance of supervisory support, as well as answers to the tough questions such as how the front line feels about the behavioral integrity of their colleagues,” Lipinski said in 2012. “The goal was to provide a benchmark for all police forces, and guidelines on how we might better structure policing.”
The Delta Police website describes Lipinski as an “accomplished police leader” who served with the Edmonton Police Service before leaving, at the rank of deputy chief to serve as Assistant Commissioner with the RCMP, as district commander for the Lower Mainland.
Lipinski was also the Criminal Operations Officer for E-Division for five years and spent “a great deal of his time” in uniform and operations. He was also deputy chief in charge of human resources, information technology, training, and finance in the Edmonton Police Service.
“Deputy Chief Lipinski has built a strong reputation as a credible and collaborative leader who is grounded in the philosophies of community policing and service to the public,” DPD’s website states. “He has a proven track record for progressive police practices, community engagement, and positive labour relations. A hallmark of his success has been the building of strong teams. Deputy Chief Lipinski has developed highly effective strategies that have played a major role in crime reduction and led organizational reviews in diverse areas of policing including use of force.”
Lipinski is a recipient of the Officer Order of Merit (OOM) bestowed by the Governor General of Canada, the Canadian Police Exemplary Medal, the Alberta Law Enforcement Long Service Medal and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal.
He holds a Master of Business Administration degree as well as a Bachelor of Laws degree.
The board said Lipinski was selected through a “rigorous process led by a third-party professional search firm and vetted through objective decision-making criteria framework that placed particular emphasis on leadership experience, demonstrable experience promoting progressive policing policies, including commitment to de-escalation training and ability to foster a diverse and inclusive environment.”
Asked why he wanted the job, Lipinski said, “I think it’s the best job in policing in Canada right now.”
“The ability to, I’ll say, have a clean canvas and build the police department with the community, I think is very, very attractive,” he said. “I have a certain vision, a certain model in mind. But before I do anything, it will be consultation with the police board and consultation with the community.”
He added that consultation will include all levels of government, businesses, faith leaders, the Indigenous community and more.
Mayor Doug McCallum, who is also the police board chair, said Lipinski will bring Surrey into a “new era of modern and progressive policing while staying attuned to the priorities of this growing community.”
“In this time of global pandemic and rising awareness of diversity, representation and equity in policing, Surrey Police will have a leader who understands the challenges before us and has the expertise and the skills to take us into a new era.”
Asked if Lipinski’s background with the RCMP contradicts his wishes for a municipal police force, McCallum said it was a “huge advantage,” adding that it’s a “transition period” and both forces will have to work together “for the safety of Surrey.”
Lipinski said his background with the RCMP will potentially help to ease the transition.
“It’s important when you do a transition of this nature to be able to work closely together and understand the processes on either side of the fence. In doing that, it’s very difficult. It’s a different system. It’s a federal system and having the advantage of understanding that will facilitate and speed up the transition.”
Meantime, the Surrey RCMP’s assistant commissioner Brian Edwards released a statement Friday, congratulating Lipinski.
“Today I was advised, along with the media and the public, that the police chief has been named for the Surrey Police Service,” said Edwards.
“It is important for all Surrey residents to know that, at this time, the RCMP continues to maintain responsibility for policing in Surrey. The transition of police services is a long and complex process, particularly for a detachment of our size.”
Edwards said the Surrey RCMP will “continue to manage operations until the Municipal Police Unit Agreement has been terminated or replaced with another agreement.”
“There is no doubt that this continuing process to transition Surrey’s policing service has been challenging for our people. They are dedicated police officers and support staff, many of who live and raise their families in Surrey,” he said. “For the past two years, they have continued to do their jobs with professionalism, integrity, and compassion, while working under a cloud of uncertainty for their personal and professional futures. I am proud to lead such a dedicated group of individuals.
“To the residents of Surrey, please feel confident that your safety remains our top priority as we move through this.”