A Surrey Police Board member who was on the governance and finance committee has resigned to reportedly move to Vancouver Island, effective March 1.
The board’s executive director, Melissa Granum, said Mayor Doug McCallum was notified Monday that Bob Rolls will continue to serve until March 1. McCallum did not return requests for comment by press time.
“Bob is the municipal appointee – seven provincial, one municipal – and the City will need to decide on a replacement,” Granum told the Now-Leader on Tuesday. “City Council will need to pass a motion appointing a new director and that will go to the Province. It will not be official until an Order in Council is signed through Cabinet.”
Granum said Rolls’ departure won’t “impact the functioning” of the board as there are still members.
The Now-Leader has reached out to the Surrey Police Service and Surrey Police Board for comment from Rolls.
Councillor Jack Hundial said he’s “not surprised” by Rolls’ resignation, “seeing how the plan was first developed and just the hurdles that are ahead of it.
“Bob is a professional, he’s got a professional reputation as well and I think that there are a lot of issues that are coming to light right now,” Hundial said.
“You’re looking at the original timeline proposed, which they’re not going to be able to meet, I think the resourcing challenges ahead, and for me I think really that the amount of support that was talked about in the initial transition report from VPD, I don’t quite see that happening at this point.”
Before serving on the board Rolls served with the Vancouver Police Department from 1977 to 2010, when he retired at the rank of deputy chief constable.
Rolls, a Surrey resident, had produced with retired RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German a 246-page review for Richmond city council examining a potential move from the RCMP to a city police force. In the end, Richmond opted to keep the RCMP.
“We had to build a transition model, and then cost it out,” Rolls told a Surrey Board of Trade forum in 2019. “On the base of cost alone, the decision in Richmond was not to go ahead.”
The board’s next meeting is February 17.
Amber Stowe, communications project manager for the City of Surrey, deferred “all enquiries relating to the Surrey Police Board” to Granum.
Meantime, the National Police Federation has been “raising concerns” that B.C. taxpayers will be “on the hook” for another $1.4 million to pay for an “unpopular and expensive” Surrey Police Service that may not be up and running for another four years.
The NFP issued a press release last week raising concerns that the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner told a Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services on Tuesday that it needs $1.4 million more this year to hire and train analysts to handle an “anticipated volume” of new complaints related to the Surrey Police Service, which is to replace the Surrey RCMP.
Brian Sauvé, president of the NFP, noted that there are no such provincial costs for the Surrey RCMP as complaints aimed at the detachment are handled under federal funding.
“This expense is yet another example of the rapidly and continually escalating cost of Surrey’s police transition,” Sauvé said. “These are real and tangible costs, not just for Surrey residents, but for all British Columbia taxpayers. It’s time for Mayor McCallum and his majority on Council to finally address the total cost of this expensive transition.”
Said Councillor Linda Annis, “I don’t think anyone has a real grasp on the timeline.”
Sharlene Brooks, public affairs and communications manager for the Surrey Police Service, said the provincial and federal governments as well as Surrey RCMP Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards and Surrey Police Service’s Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, are “working to develop a deployment plan including a transition period. More information will be made available as the deployment plan is formalized.”