Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has appointed Terry Waterhouse to lead the city’s transition from RCMP to a municipal force.
Waterhouse was hired by the previous Surrey First team in 2015 as the city’s first-ever Director of Public Safety Strategies, and his title was later changed to General Manager of Public Safety.
“With his extensive experience in the criminal justice system and his most recent tenure as General Manager of Public Safety, Terry is well suited to lead the transition planning to a municipal police department for Surrey,” said Mayor Doug McCallum in a release announcing Waterhouse’s appointment.
“Terry’s expertise and ability to work with government partners, the RCMP and other external partners will ensure that the transition will be made as smoothly and as quickly as possible,” McCallum added. “I am confident that the province and the RCMP will continue to work with us to make this change as seamless and as quickly as possible for the benefit of all the residents in Surrey.”
McCallum and his Safe Surrey Coalition campaigned on replacing the Surrey RCMP, which has policed Surrey since May 1, 1951, with a new city force. Immediately after Surrey’s new council was sworn in on Nov. 5, the politicians voted to terminate the RCMP’s contract.
The city hall release stated the “evolution of policing services from the Surrey RCMP to a municipal police service will require a dedicated team focused on achieving a successful transition” and Waterhouse’s “new assignment will be integral as he develops and leads the transition process.”
“The task at hand is of utmost importance to the residents of Surrey and it is incumbent on us to have an orderly evolution of policing services for the City,” said Waterhouse, in a release. “We are moving quickly to put a team together that will allow us to cover off all aspects of this important endeavour.”
Prior to being hired at Surrey City Hall, Waterhouse served as Simon Fraser University’s Chief Safety Officer (from 2011 to 2015), and was Manager of Youth Services for the Burnaby School District from 1998 to 2004. Before that, he served two years as the Co-ordinator of Violence Prevention Programs for the Vancouver School Board.
According to his LinkedIn page, from 2004 to present he’s served as faculty in the University of the Fraser Valley’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
Meantime, relations between Surrey’s new Mayor Doug McCallum and the RCMP have become further estranged following dueling press release statements issued by both in the wake of Surrey’s 11th homicide of the year last week.
Corporal Frank Jang, of the Integrated Homicide Investigation, said detectives believe last Friday’s fatal shooting “was a targeted incident and is associated to the ongoing gang conflict in the Lower Mainland.”
Roughly nine hours after the 22-year-old man, whose name has not been released, was found shot dead in the 14200-block of 70A Avenue in Newton last Friday morning, McCallum issued a press release, stating, “This latest incident of deadly gun violence further emphasizes the need for the City of Surrey to have its own city police force.”
In an unprecedented move, Deputy Commissioner Brenda Butterworth-Carr, B.C.’s top Mountie, fired off her own press release later that day, saying comments like McCallum’s “risk undermining public trust and confidence in policing.”
In his release last week, McCallum also said he was “dismayed by the resistance that is being encountered at the provincial level” and urged the province to “remove any road blocks.”
That comment prompted a response from Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s minister of public safety and solicitor general, who said the premier and provincial government is working with Surrey as the city develops a plan to create its own police force, something, he said, that “isn’t created over the weekend.”
A change.org petition has also been launched, urging Farnworth to keep the RCMP in Surrey, and as of Wednesday morning, more than 1,800 people had signed it.
“It is naive to think a different police force would have the ability to deter gang violence, and pointing the blame at the RCMP is akin to willful blindness,” the petition states.