Darlene Bennett, right, speaks about her murdered husband Paul at a police press conference in 2018. Bennett was back at City Hall Oct. 7 to show her support for keeping the RCMP in Surrey. She says a new force will do nothing to make the city safe. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Widow fighting to keep RCMP in Surrey

Darlene Bennett says new police force will not make citizens any safer than they already are with the RCMP

Darlene Bennett supports keeping the RCMP in Surrey.

“A change in uniform will not make any difference” in crime rates, she told the Cloverdale Reporter.

Bennett and dozens of others from the group “Keep the RCMP in Surrey” went to an Oct. 7 council meeting to protest, what they claim to be, a lack of action on crime by the Mayor’s office.

Bennett’s been a vocal opponent of a new Surrey police force ever since the initiative was announced. Her husband Paul, a Cloverdale Minor Hockey Association coach, was shot in Clayton Heights in June 2018.

“My husband was murdered in our driveway at four in the afternoon,” she said, fighting back tears. “Since the mayor’s been elected, he’s done nothing to address violence. He’s cut youth programs, he’s cut infrastructure, and he shut down the public safety committee.”

When that committee was axed Bennett was enraged.

“It involved all of council. Everyone had a voice,” she said. “Dissolving the committee speaks volumes. The mayor isn’t giving people a voice. He wants to control the situation.”

Bennett also said, despite the surge in Surrey’s population and the surge in Surrey’s crime rates, the mayor hasn’t added one officer to the force since he was elected.

She doesn’t support a new police force because she said it will cost more money and have less officers than the current RCMP.

“I’ve read the report. We’d be paying more for less: more cost and less police officers on the streets.” She added there are also too many other issues. She said the report isn’t transparent, it doesn’t give factual information on why or how a new force will make Surrey safer, and she said it doesn’t address issues identified by the gang task force under the previous mayor, Linda Hepner.

“Paul’s life mattered. After the violence my family has had to endure,I can’t support a new police force,” she said. “My kids don’t feel safe. Kids in Surrey deserve to feel safe. Surrey deserves to be safe.”

Bennett said she blames Mayor McCallum for the recent bloodshed in Clayton Heights because of his inaction on tackling violent crime.

“I truly blame the mayor for what happened here in Clayton,” she said. “He has blood on his hands. I truly mean that. He’s done nothing.”

Bennett said the mayor could do a few simple things to get Surrey on a pathway toward making B.C.’s second most-populous city safer. She said it begins by immediately investing in manpower and resources for the RCMP; by addressing some of the issues set forth by the gang task force; and by investing in projects that tackle mental health issues, addictions, and homelessness.

“I have asked the mayor questions about these things in the past and I just get back cut-and-paste news releases.”

Bennett doesn’t understand how the Mayor’s office can put forth such a massive proposal as starting up a new police force without having facts, figures, and a road map showing Surreyites the way forward.

“We deserve answers. He should be reassuring us, and there is nothing.”

If the mayor did release an “SPD Road Map,” Bennett said she’d have to read it first.

“Right now, I’m not willing to bet on something that has no backing. It’s not the police that are the problem. It’s our courts. There are guys on the streets that shouldn’t be out there,” she said. “I want action now, not in two years.”

The Cloverdale Reporter reached out to the Mayor McCallum’s office, but calls were not returned by publication time.

Police have not made any arrests in the Paul Bennett murder case.



editor@cloverdalereporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Paul Bennett is shown in this undated handout. Homicide investigators say the murder of a hockey dad and dedicated nurse in Surrey, B.C., was a case of mistaken identity. Paul Bennett was shot in his driveway on June 23 and died of his wounds in hospital. His widow, Darlene Bennett, says Paul wasn’t involved in criminal activity and she never thought he would die of such violence, especially in their quite neighbourhood.

Just Posted

Body found after fire at Surrey gas station

Fire crews called to the 8700-block of Harvie Road, in Port Kells

Once shy, Surrey maker of cakes finds confidence to show skills on TV and at big events

Raveena Oberoi of Just Cakes Bakeshop is a guest speaker at Vancouver Fall Home Show this week

Minor injuries after South Surrey student struck in school crosswalk

Collision ‘a reminder to drivers, pedestrians to take safety seriously’

North Delta students collect over 16,000 items during annual one-night food drive

Items collected during Delview Secondary’s annual Thanks 4 Giving benefit Deltassist, Surrey Food Bank

Surrey tops list of most delayed, congested TransLink bus routes

TransLink says delays are costing $75 million a year

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

B.C. mayor apologizes for removal of Queen’s portrait from council chambers

‘I prefer to be inclusive of the many aspects of our history’

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

Rare bird spotted in Victoria draws enthusiasts from across the continent

It’s the first time a yellow-browed warbler has been reported on the mainland of North America

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

VIDEO: Depth and scoring lacking for Vancouver Giants this season: Coach

G-Men defeated on home ice Sunday by Victoria – next up Everett on Friday

Report suggests new BC Ferries terminal near YVR

Metro Vancouver currently has two ferry terminals at northern and southern reaches

Most Read