The Surrey Police Board’s inaugural meeting this Thursday morning will be open to the public and marks a milestone in a major city issue that’s drawn considerable acrimony from many Surrey residents.
The board is responsible for hiring a chief constable as well as approval of all the city police force’s policies, its budget, and assuming oversight for all service and policy complaints related to the new Surrey Police Service.
The 10 a.m. “virtual” meeting on Aug. 6 will be live-streamed for public viewing and details on how to tune in will be available at surrey.ca/policeboard.
Its members, among them Mayor Doug McCallum (chairman), Executive Director Melissa Granum and members Meena Brisard, James Carwana, Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell, Cheney Cloke, Manav Gill, Elizabeth Model, Bob Rolls and Jaspreet Sunner will take their oath before Surrey provincial court Judge Therese Alexander.
They will hear a presentation from Dr. Terry Waterhouse concerning the city’s policing transition to date, and the board will request that the RCMP “recognize the Surrey Police Service as a category 1 police agency in the National Police Information Service network” and that the City of Surrey, “on behalf of the Board, complete the necessary applications to enable connection of Surrey Police Service to the National Police Information Service network.”
At Surrey council’s inaugural meeting on Nov. 5, 2018 it served notice to the provincial and federal governments it is ending its contract with the RCMP – which has policed these parts since May 1, 1951 – to set up its own force.
Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth on Aug. 22, 2019 gave the city the go-ahead to pursue the plan.
McCallum stated in a press release issued by the city on Tuesday that he’s “thrilled we are at this pivotal moment in our city’s history.
“Surrey’s citizens, business owners and visitors deserve the robust, local civilian oversight of the new Surrey Police Service,” McCallum said. “The SPS will be built as an innovative, modern and proactive service tailored to the needs and concerns of Surrey residents.”
The board members will also be assigned to various tasks. Brisard, Carwana and Sunner will oversee HR and compensation and Chappell, Cloke and Rolls will make up the governance committee while Gill, Model and Rolls will handle finance. Who will be assigned to the Freedom of Information committee has yet to be determined.
“There will be a heavy emphasis and dependency on committee work, particularly in the early development stages of the SPS,” Granum wrote in her board assignment report. “Committee assignments will be reviewed annually by the Board Chair in consultation with each committee.”
The board’s second meeting is set for Sept. 15.
Thursday’s agenda indicates a motion to hold a meeting in a closed session will be dealt with at the end of the inaugural meeting.