LETTERS: SPD a ‘misguided vanity project’

Editor:

Re: Citizens deserve straight answers, Dec. 11

It is encouraging to see someone in a more senior level of government, MP Ken Hardie, voicing his concerns regarding the stonewall tactics of Mayor Doug McCallum and calling for a referendum on policing in Surrey.

The plan, as I see it, is to starve the RCMP of resources – the city has declined requests for more officers for two years now and will keep this policy until the mayor’s vanity project – the Surrey Police Department – is in place. Surrey presently has one officer for every 670 residents while Vancouver has one officer for every 496 residents. In addition, and to ensure there are sufficient tax dollars to pay for this project, the muddle majority on council is also starving the fire department of resources and mothballing infrastructure projects such as community centres, schools and sports-related projects.

It’s well known that giving our youth somewhere to go (community centres, etc.) and something to do (sports, etc.) reduces the idle time and attractiveness of gang activity.

The majority on this council is promoting fewer police officers on the ground, increased crime and reduced response time. But this is a very dangerous game to play. You can bet that if the mayor gets his way with a municipal force, one of the first asks is going to be for more officers.

This approach over the next couple of years is using the lives of our residents – both young and old – to further the vanity project of Mayor McCallum. Hopefully, the amount of blood on their hands is less than what could happen with this misguided, irresponsible and selfish approach.

Wayne Mercers, Surrey

•••

I attended Surrey council’s Monday afternoon hearing of the proposed budget. Of all the persons speaking to council only one was in favour of a municipal force.

He said that it would be like Delta PD. Well, comparing Delta to Surrey is like comparing apples to oranges.

The Safe Surrey Coalition is either wilfully ignorant, blind or naive when it comes to the cost of keeping Surrey safe. It appears that the Surrey Fire Department is also short-staffed for a city as large and as fast-growing as Surrey.

The proposed SPD will be woefully short-staffed and when implemented their wages and benefits will be on a par with Vancouver’s PD.

This rush to implement the SPD will cost us much more when it comes to playing catch-up with our roads, infrastructure and recreational facilities.

I would urge our council to do their due diligence in planning and costing of this project and present it to the taxpayers as a referendum on our next municipal election.

By doing this, the mayor could demonstrate true leadership and perhaps receive a real mandate from Surrey’s citizens to implement a municipal police force.

Barry Bradley, Surrey

•••

I read with interest the recent interview of Delta resident and Surrey Coun. Mandeep Nagra. He states that the municipal department proposed is years overdue.

Really? I am gratified to know that we have someone on council who has a vast knowledge and history of policing in B.C. The only thing wrong with his opinion is that he never once said why.

If, as I suspect, he has no prior experience in policing or Canada’s justice system, his comments would best be left to his fellow Delta residents.

I have a career in policing of some 37 years and do not look forward to the monstrous taxation coming to Surrey because the mayor, et al, feel that the cost of policing is about the same as an RCMP contract. We have come to expect exaggeration from politicians of every stripe, but this one takes the cake.

The RCMP comes with federal government insurance coverage for Surrey’s fleet of vehicles, which includes cars, trucks, mobile command posts, armoured vehicles, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft as well as patrol boats.

Top that, Mr. Mayor. They even come with their own law firm, the Department of Justice, at no additional cost to taxpayers. Did I mention a 10 per cent salary subsidy?

I challenge the mayor and council to realistically give their costs for the foregoing. Anyone with high school math can see the increases looming.

We had a mayor long ago who wished that the RCMP were not in Surrey as he was arrested for bribery and shady dealings with developers.

That former mayor was sent to the penitentiary for three years.

Would a municipal force have been able to complete a thorough investigation such as this, while that crooked mayor would have sat on the police board (another cost to taxpayers)?

Time for transparency, folks.

Jim Simpson, Surrey

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