Superintendent Jennifer Hyland, officer in charge of Ridge Meadows RCMP, is the first of three deputy chief constables to be hired to the Surrey Police Service. Her first day on the job will be Jan. 25.
Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, said Surrey will be “well served” by Hyland, who got her start in policing with the Surrey RCMP more than 20 years ago.
“To say she is highly regarded is an understatement and I am looking forward to working together to build an exemplary police organization,” Lipinski said.
Hyland told the Now-Leader she will be responsible for support services.
“Ultimately my bureau is responsible for all things recruiting, all things with respect to the workplace and culture, all things leadership and training, the strategic plan and Canadian engagement, and so basically everything that builds the foundation and the structure of the police force is going to fall under my bureau,” she said.
At Surrey council’s inaugural meeting on Nov. 5th, 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.
“We’re not actually taking over for the Surrey RCMP, we’re just transitioning back to historically where Surrey started from,” Hyland said. “I found that a very interesting proposition for the last two years while this has been talked about as have many police officers both in the municipal world and in the RCMP.”
Her husband is a municipal deputy police chief in New Westminster, she noted, “so I am astutely connected to the municipal world and to the RCMP world.”
“The RCMP does an amazing job in their mandate of having to police communities and issues across the country,” she said, but the move to a city police force will allow the residents of Surrey and the police board to have a “much more direct conversation and engagement with their policing service, the policies, the deployment models and how that police officers are going to interact and provide the service.”
Under the RCMP model, she continued, the majority of that is set out of Ottawa “by people who are not living in the community, who some who have probably never been to Surrey, and so I was intrigued by the concept of it right away.”
That said, Hyland lives in Maple Ridge, Lipinski lives in Yale Town, and police board members Elizabeth Model and Harley Chappell live in Burnaby and Chilliwack, respectively.
“I policed my first five years with the RCMP in the City of Surrey,” Hyland said. “I started in Cloverdale, so I policed general duty uniform in Cloverdale for the year and a half I was there and then I moved over into plainclothes where I focused all my efforts on child sexual abuse cases in Surrey.
“I’ll be commuting to Surrey,” she said.
She said “hopefully” the two remaining deputy chief constables will be hired soon but as for when, she added, “I’m not part of those conversations just quite yet because I haven’t arrived in the role.”
Meantime, public affairs officer Marielle Tounsi said Wednesday that Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth was not available to be interviewed concerning Chappell’s status with the Surrey Police Board, but she noted that “The Director of Police Services has reviewed the process for screening police board members and is satisfied with the results and having Mr. Chappell stay on as a valued member.”
Chappell found himself in hot water last month for posing for a photo with members of the Hells Angels following a funeral in 2018, which was posted on Facebook.
Asked if she has any concerns with Chappell staying on the board, Hyland replied, “I don’t at all, and I’ll tell you why. First and foremost I have the utmost confidence in the ethics of the assistant deputy minister of police services when she appointed and did the backgrounds for this police board.
“And the second answer to the question as to why I don’t have a concern with it is that there’s been nothing indicating that chief Chappell himself was involved in that organization and I suspect if there was anything that concerned police services or the government that he wouldn’t have had the appointment in the first place nor would that have been reconfirmed,” Hyland said.
“And finally I want to say that my policing leadership, and my personal belief, is that I will meet with people, hear what they have to say, listen and get to know them, and make my own assessments on people’s values and affects, and I haven’t had an opportunity to meet in person all of the police board members but I look forward to that opportunity and I have no concerns with anybody who makes up the police board.”