Surrey’s search for a new police chief is down to three

As violence continues in Surrey, city officials and Mounties have shortlisted three candidates to lead the country’s largest RCMP detachment

  • Aug. 5, 2016 1:00 p.m.

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner and RCMP assistant commissioner Bill Fordy.

Kim Bolan, Vancouver Sun

As drug gang and gun violence continues in Surrey, city officials and Mounties have shortlisted three candidates to lead the country’s largest RCMP detachment.

Mayor Linda Hepner said Thursday that a new top officer is expected to be in place by Sept. 15 to take over from Asst. Commissioner Bill Fordy, who is now the Mountie in charge of the entire Lower Mainland region.

Hepner said three people have been shortlisted for the challenging job.

“We completed last week the panel interviews of potential candidates,” she said in an interview.

The three finalists have been sent now for “psychometric testing,” which involves assessing their personality profiles, critical thinking skills and leadership styles.

Hepner wouldn’t identify those on the shortlist for the job to lead a force of 804 officers and 300 municipal employees.

While the candidates are being asked about how they would respond to ongoing gang and gun violence, that is not the only issue on the table.

“There are many, many factors that you need to consider,” Hepner said. “You want to know municipal police experience. You want to know major crime experience. You want to know media experience, because it all comes into play. I don’t think there’s any of those elements that take precedence over another. They are all equally important.”

She also said Fordy has done great work in the area of community policing and outreach — something she wants his successor to continue.

“I have been very happy with what Bill has brought in relative to community policing,” she said. “So I am also interested in community outreach experience and building on what exists as opposed to starting again.”

Last month, Surrey had three fatal shootings believed to be related to disputes in the drug trade.

On July 31, gangster Sean Christopher Kelly, 27, was shot to death in the 13900-block of Antrim Road. Kelly was once close to gang leader Sukh Dhak, who suffered a similar fate when he was gunned down in Burnaby in November 2012. Kelly had a trafficking conviction and was still involved in the drug trade.

Just a week before, Jatinder (Michael) Johal died after a shooting that police believe was targeting someone else. Johal had no criminal history, nor links to the ongoing gang conflict in Surrey, Staff Sgt. Jennifer Pound said at the time.

And on July 4, the body of Brendan Aditya Chand, 27, was found in Surrey’s Bog Park. He had been shot to death two days earlier. Chand also had convictions for trafficking, as well as for shooting a man in the back in Burnaby in 2011.

Surrey RCMP Cpl. Scotty Shumann said that as of Thursday, there have been 51 gunshot files opened in Surrey so far this year.

“Just slightly more than 50 per cent of the 51 reports are known or believed to be associated to the drug trade,” he said.

In July, Surrey Mounties checked 176 vehicles, made eight arrests and seized 25 assorted weapons, Schumann said.

Hepner said she is happy with the work being done by Surrey police to tackle the problem.

“When you’re dealing with gangs, you are also dealing with who’s coming up to the plate when somebody goes down,” she said. “Every time you uncover something under one rock, there’s another rock to look underneath as well. It is always developing.”

kbolan@postmedia.com

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