One year ago this month, I started my work as the first Chief Constable for the new Surrey Police Service (SPS).
The SPS office building was pretty quiet when I arrived last December as I joined a few hard-working individuals from the Surrey Police Board and the City’s policing transition team.
But as the weeks and months went by, more and more people joined SPS. Today, we have more than 150 sworn and civilian employees and the SPS office is far from quiet.
Like me, these individuals wanted to be a part of building Surrey’s new local police service, and they wanted in on the ground floor. This is a once-in a-lifetime opportunity that attracts the creative and the brave – those who want to change the status quo of policing and aren’t afraid to do the heavy lifting. Similarly, the community members and organizations who have expressed their desire to help us build SPS in a way that makes sense for Surrey, have shown great leadership.
It is easy to sit back and watch SPS unfold, but the employees and the community members who have joined us so far want to be much more than observers. They have already started to shape SPS through our customized training, our employee services, our community consultation, and much more.
It is certainly not easy work to build a police service. These past 12 months have been some of the busiest of my career, but also some of the most rewarding.
As the end of 2021 approaches, I want to thank ‘the creative and the brave’ – those who have helped us build SPS over the past year. Thanks to you we reached a number of milestones, including our recent deployment into policing operations, alongside the Surrey RCMP.
Changing a city’s policing model is a big deal. Public safety is something that Surrey residents and business owners care deeply about – that is why we are working so hard to make SPS a policing service that everyone can be proud of. The move to a local police service that answers directly to its citizens is an important investment in the future of Surrey.
There is still lots of work to be done and I look forward to having many more people join us in 2022 as we continue this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a police service that is tailored to Surrey.
Norm Lipinski is Chief Constable of Surrey Police Service.