The Surrey Police Service has unveiled its crest, emblazoned with the words respect, integrity and honour.
This was done during a virtual meeting Tuesday, staged in the same Surrey Council Chambers where on Nov. 5, 2018, council during its inaugural meeting served notice to the provincial and federal governments it would end its contract with the RCMP – which has policed these parts since May 1, 1951 – to set up its own force.
The historic unveiling marks a milestone in the ongoing saga of the Surrey Police Service, whose motto is “Safer. Stronger. Together.”
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said the badge links the past, present and future. He paid homage to the Surrey Police that served these parts until the Surrey RCMP took over, and those Surrey Mounties who have served Surrey for 70 years and counting.
“I want to take a minute to thank the police officers who have worked tirelessly four our community, and the most important, those that made the ultimate sacrifice,” McCallum said. “You are all forever a part of our fabric and you will always be remembered for the role you played in Surrey’s history.”
The badge features a Coast Salish eye to honour First Nations in the region, a checkered pattern to demonstrate the force will adhere to Peel’s Principles of “effective, ethical policing,” and six stars representing Surrey’s town centres of Guildford, Whalley/City Centre, Newton, Cloverdale, Fleetwood and South Surrey.
Looking to the future, McCallum said, “We see a vibrant, diverse city that will continue to grow into what will be the largest city in our province, and this growth will occur in partnership with our independent police service that will focus on the needs and priorities of our residents and businesses.
“It will be modern. It will be inclusive. It will be innovative and most importantly it will be accountable directly to our citizens, through Surrey Police Board.”
Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell, who is a member of the police board, likened the eye to that of a “parent, a grandparent, a guardian that oversees and protects and takes responsibility for the well-being of the people.”
The Surrey Police Service is expected to have 805 police officers, 325 civilian employees,and 20 community safety personnel who will take on lower priority, less risky, and less complex duties in order to” better leverage” frontline officers, All told, 84 per cent of the officers will be constables.
Surrey RCMP, in comparison, has 1,145 employees, 843 of which are police officers.
Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, taking questions from reporters, was asked if he is concerned about inheriting a police force from the Surrey RCMP that has seen a three-year hiring freeze to date and likely to be frozen for a fourth.
“No, I’m not concerned,” Lipinski replied. “The reason is that thus far we have a lot of interest from a variety of police agencies across Canada to join our ranks. We have of course hired our executive staff, we now have hired our middle-layer staff to some extent and we are concentrating now on our human resources area, which of course will include recruiting.
“So far we’re doing very, very well and I’m excited and optimist about the future,” he said.
Lipinski said the recent spate of shootings “is concerning.
“We know that these flare-ups come and go and we know that in many instances as a result of drug trafficking and I think we need to work together more closely as a community and the police community and get that information, if anybody does have any information on these recent killings you have to step forward and provide that to your police of jurisdiction.”