Surrey resident Darlene Bennett, whose husband Paul was murdered in Cloverdale in 2018, takes the city to task for lack of transparency in its plan to replace the RCMP with a made-in-Surrey police force. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Surrey resident Darlene Bennett, whose husband Paul was murdered in Cloverdale in 2018, takes the city to task for lack of transparency in its plan to replace the RCMP with a made-in-Surrey police force. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Guest Column: My murdered husband’s voice must be heard on Surrey policing transition

Taxpayers deserve information and answers, Darlene Bennett argues

homelessphoto

I have been contemplating Surrey’s planned policing transition for awhile. I have held my opinions and concerns. I have reached out only once to have my questions answered and waited months for the reply, only to receive a very standard generalized response.

I have wasted so much time and energy trying to figure out what the right course of action should be for the City of Surrey’s policing. I have read, I have Googled, I have sought to be an informed citizen. How could I not? I have a vested interest in the outcome of this plan.

My husband was murdered at our home, in our driveway, nearly a year ago, on June 23, 2018.

It was a case of mistaken identity. How horrendous is that? To be brutally murdered for doing nothing more than having a similar appearance to the person these criminals were after? My family’s safety is at the forefront and my greatest concern. If this could happen to Paul, then it could happen to anyone. No one is safe.

I have been waiting patiently for the information on the mayor’s police transition plan to come forward, but to no avail. I have reached an impasse. Paul’s voice needs to be heard. The safety of Surrey’s citizens is in peril.

I am angry, disappointed and alarmed with the mayor of Surrey, Doug McCallum. His lack of transparency regarding the transition to a Surrey police force from the RCMP is disheartening.

READ ALSO: Surrey residents voice disappointment with Surrey’s first public consult on policing plan

READ ALSO: Cloverdale’s Paul Bennett remembered for ‘the biggest heart’

READ ALSO: Grieving widow slams Surrey’s policing consultation process

This is a monumental change in matters of public safety. Taxpayers deserve information and answers. Knowledge gives you the power to make informed decisions. The promises are just an illusion right now that have no context for me to support. I cannot fathom the reason for this “closed door” policy on this matter. It is not good leadership, and it makes me question his motive.

I have received no assurances from the mayor that this transition will not jeopardize Paul’s right to justice. Mayor McCallum and the City of Surrey will be held accountable.

I am shocked that the mayor and council have elected not to approve additional funding to provide the RCMP with more officers. We still need an active police force. The murders just keep on happening. There has been too much loss and it needs to stop.

Surrey is greatly understaffed in the police-to-population ratio com-pared to Vancouver, and Surrey has a higher crime index. Where is the logic in that?

The promise of a “Safe Surrey” was just a ploy for votes.

The criminals are not going to wait for the mayor’s “plan” to transition. We need help now.

Any prudent human being would acknowledge that, but I guess a human life doesn’t mean that much to the mayor and this truly angers me.

I have been through big changes in health care over the years and know that change can be difficult but can provide opportunity and growth especially when you have a voice. This is not the case with McCallum’s plan.

I really don’t feel a municipal police force is the answer. It is only a change of uniform and at great cost. I feel the money would be better spent investing in officers, appropriate technology, like the intersection cameras being able to take readable images and sup-porting what we already have, the Surrey RCMP, then starting from ground zero with little insight into what the powers that be have in hand.

Call it fear of the unknown, grief, whatever you want, but I have no assurances otherwise that a change would make any difference at all to my safety.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A memorial to Hudson Brooks grew quickly outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment following his July 2015 death at the hands of police. (File photo)
Inquest yields ‘sliver of justice’ for South Surrey’s Hudson Brooks: brother

Beau Brooks says he’s not optimistic call for increased RCMP training will bear fruit

Cloverdale robbery suspect. (Surrey RCMP photo)
Man charged in relation to four separate robberies in Cloverdale

Jake Eric Henderson allegedly committed four gas station robberies in January

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Tribunal to hear transgender inmate’s human rights complaint against Surrey Pretrial

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Saulteaux Cree – Saskatchewan hide and rabbit moccasins by Edith Cyr (1914-2000). (Shared with permission by Diane Jubinville)
Delta students to ‘Roc their Mocs’ March 11

Event to “teach about diversity, identity of different cultures around the world”

An eagle sits in trees overlooking 1001 Steps in South Surrey, January 2021. The City of Surrey has received international recognition as a ‘tree city’ but an environmental group calls it an ‘empty accolade.’ (Tracy Holmes photo)
Environment organization calls Surrey’s ‘tree city’ designation ‘empty accolade’

Committee chair Allison Patton says international recognition is encouraging and sets a trend

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
B.C. dentists and bus drivers want newly-approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

BC Dental Association says dentists and their teams cannot treat patients remotely,

President of the BC Teacher’s Federation (BCTF) Teri Mooring is calling for teachers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by summer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Why it’s ‘urgent’ B.C. teachers get vaccinated from COVID-19 before summer

President Teri Mooring says not enough is being done to prevent virus transmission in schools

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2014, file photo, endangered orcas from the J pod swim in Puget Sound west of Seattle, as seen from a federal research vessel that has been tracking the whales. A new study from federal researchers provides the most detailed look yet at what the Pacific Northwest's endangered orcas eat. Scientists with the NOAA Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center spent years collecting fecal samples from the whales as well as scales from the fish they devoured. They say their data reaffirm the central importance of Chinook salmon to the whales. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Study reinforces importance of Chinook to Pacific Northwest orcas

Data confirms how central the big salmon are to the orca’s diet year-round

....
‘Basmodi Wave’ Indian farmers protests set for several Lower Mainland locations

200 pairs of shoes being placed at all protests to represent deaths during ongoing protests in India

Shiromali Krishnaraj arrives from India and receives a mandatory COVID-19 test at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. B.C.’s approved rapid tests also use a nasal swab, with a machine to scan for COVID-19 antibodies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s rapid COVID-19 tests have produced only two positive results

Tests deployed for exposures in schools, outbreaks in care homes, jails

BC Emergency Health Services confirmed that a call was received just before 10 a.m. Ground paramedics, as well as an air ambulance, are on the way to the area. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
UPDATED: 2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Most Read