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Surrey RCMP celebrates 60 years of service Sunday

Cloverdale plays host to a special ceremony Sunday afternoon commemorating the 60th anniversary of the RCMP taking over policing duties in the City of Surrey.

The ceremony starts at 2 p.m. May 1 at Surrey Museum Plaza at 17710 56A Ave., and will last about an hour. The public is encouraged to attend. There will be a marching parade by RCMP members in dress ceremonial uniform (red serge).

Mayor Dianne Watts will perform an inspection of the troops. Other dignitaries have been invited as well, including Peter German, the RCMP’s Deputy Commissioner for Western Canada.

Other participants include the 15th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery Band from Vancouver.

It’s a celebration, but it’s also a sombre occasion, honouring the legacy of the hundreds of members who have served Surrey over the years, including the four who have been killed in the line of duty, and to recognize the successful partnership between the RCMP and the city of Surrey.

“There will be a significant number of members at the parade,” says Staff Sergeant Major Dave Woods.

It’s hoped some of those original members will be on hand for inspection says Woods, the former District Commander for the Cloverdale/Port Kells District office, one of five district offices established in 1998 to provide the Surrey RCMP with a community presence.

Woods says the parade will require closing down Highway 10 in front of the museum for a very short time only.

The RCMP’s involvement in law enforcement in Surrey spans 80 years and has come a long way since 1920, when the RCMP stationed a single Mountie here to patrol the U.S. Canada border.

The history of policing in Surrey actually starts well before that. The city incorporated in 1879, but didn’t establish its own police force until 1887.

By the mid-1940s, Surrey city council was worrying about addressing rising costs of maintaining its own police force in the growing Fraser Valley community.

In 1950, Surrey citizens voted in favour of contracting policing to the RCMP. At 12:01 a.m. May 1, 1951 the RCMP took over municipal policing in Surrey, stationed right here in Cloverdale.

Eighteen members were posted to the Surrey RCMP’s original Cloverdale detachment, which was located inside what was then the Surrey City Hall building, now home to the Surrey Archives.

As the city grew, so did the Surrey detachment, which has moved four times, first in 1952, to a former laundromat a the southwest corner of 177B Street and 60 Avenue.

In 1963, the detachment moved into the annex of the former City Hall, next to the original 1912 City Hall building, now home to the Surrey Archives.

Less than a decade later, in 1971, the detachment operated out of trailers while the old annex was demolished to make way for a new, larger RCMP detachment where the Surrey Cenotaph is located today.

In 1991, the Surrey RCMP’s current detachment opened at 14355 57 Avenue, its current home.

The first community policing office in Surrey opened in 1991, at 5732 176A Street in Cloverdale.

Today, the Surrey RCMP is the largest RCMP detachment in Canada, with 651 members and a support staff of 238 municipal employees.

Look for a commemorative Surrey RCMP’s anniversary display as part of the upcoming Cloverdale Rodeo.

It will be on display at the new Cloverdale Recreation Centre during the rodeo and country fair.

There will be lots for spectators to see, including police vehicles, ATVs, and possibly the armoured personnel vehicle – if operational requirements permit.

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