Markita Kaulius, with picture of her daughter Kassandra – who was killed by a drunk driver in Surrey – in the background. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Markita Kaulius, with picture of her daughter Kassandra – who was killed by a drunk driver in Surrey – in the background. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Surrey Police Service

Hiring cop who drove impaired sends wrong signal, Surrey mom of drunk driving victim says

Surrey councillor says hiring ‘implies that SPS standards are low or that it is desperate to fill positions’

A Surrey mom who will be marking the 10th anniversary of her daughter being killed by a drunk driver on May 3 is stunned that the Surrey Police Service just hired an inspector who recently came off a 90-day driving prohibition for being impaired while behind the wheel.

Inspector Jeff Metcalfe will leave his job as Divisional Duty Officer, BC-RCMP Criminal Operations, to join Surrey’s new city police force, set to replace the Surrey RCMP. He did not respond to requests for comment.

“He is not going to be doing any interviews,” Sharlene Brooks, public affairs and communications manager for the Surrey Police Service, told the Now-Leader. “He actually doesn’t even start with the SPS until May.”

Panorama’s Markita Kaulius lost her daughter Kassandra, age 22, to a drunk driver in 2011 in Surrey, and since then has dedicated herself to lobbying government for better impaired driving laws through a group she founded, Families for Justice.

“The signal that it sends is basically yes, you can get convicted and it’s not a big deal, it won’t affect your work or anything like that,” Kaulius said of the SPS hire.

“Well the reality is most people, it does affect their employment, I’m sure,” Kaulius added.

“He’s a representative of the law, and in no way should he ever have got behind the wheel of a vehicle while being impaired. Really by the grace of God he didn’t hit somebody or kill somebody, right.”

READ ALSO: Surrey Police Service confirms there is truth to allegations new inspector drove impaired

READ ALSO ZYTARUK: The Surrey Police Service really needs to get its act together

Brooks said the SPS conducts thorough background reviews of all prospective hires and that Metcalfe “made full disclosure of the circumstances and has taken complete responsibility for his actions.

“The Surrey Police is more than satisfied that Inspector Metcalfe will make a strong contribution to the Surrey Police team and appreciates his candor during the interview and hiring process and look forward to welcoming him in May and benefiting from his 24 years of policing service,” Brooks said. “Surrey Police Service will not be making any further comment on this matter.”

Kaulius said she hopes Metcalfe “will have learned his lesson and go out and speak to people about the mistakes that he made. You can’t condemn somebody for one action that they did, but still as a representative of the law that was a pretty bad judgment on his part.”

Meantime, Surrey city Councillor Linda Annis has written an open letter to the Surrey Police Board “on behalf of Surrey taxpayers” seeking an explanation of the SPS’s hiring process and practices,” specifically in Metcalfe’s case.

“For a new force working together to build a credible reputation in our community, the decision to hire an inspector who has demonstrated such a serious and potentially dangerous lack of judgment creates questions about the hiring process,” Annis wrote to the mayor and police board.

“To many in our community this specific hiring decision implies that SPS standards are low or that it is desperate to fill positions. Neither engenders trust.”

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum told the Now-Leader at press time he had nothing to do with the interviewing or hiring process.

“It’s up to them to make that decision. I understand though that he was forthright and they did ask him on it and they felt very comfortable that it was in the past and he’s a good candidate and would provide a tremendous service to a new police force so they decided to hire him, though I wasn’t involved in knowing the particulars or anything.”

“We’re going through a good process, we’ve got good people involved in the process,” McCallum said.

“This is a personnel thing and it needs to stay in the personnel realm, you know, this isn’t stuff that will go out and you blab away in the press about every single inspector that we do. I mean, it’s a personnel issue and personnel issues are confidential in every city that I’m aware of.

“If they feel they will provide a good service for the community, then they hire them,” McCallum said.

“To be honest with you, why don’t you write about the good ones once in awhile?” he said. “Why don’t you write on all the rest of them, how spectacular qualifications they have, why don’t you balance it out a little bit once in a while?”

“One of the ones are Indo-Canadian, so why don’t you write about that?”

McCallum said in the case of Metcalfe, “as long as we did a very thorough investigation of it, and did an interview and he was forthright with what happened in that interview, the people doing the interview were satisfied that he was forthright and that they were also satisfied that he could bring a tremendous amount of experience and would be an extremely good person for our police service, then I fully support the hiring of him, I don’t have any conflict, and that’s where I stand on that particular one.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram  and follow Tom on Twitter

City of Surreyimpaired drivingsurrey rcmp

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Eternity Medical Equipment’s ECAN95 masks have received Health Canada approval and CSA certification. (Eternity Medical Equipment photo)
South Surrey N-95 equivalent manufacturer launches mask recycling program

Eternity Medical Equipment partners with Ontario-based LifeCycle Revive

Surrey Fire Service at a garage fire in the 14400-block of 82A Ave on March 22, 2021. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
‘Perfect storm’ of variants, increasing COVID cases are concerning for Surrey fire chief

Between police and fire, Larry Thomas said there are 8 confirmed cases, 18 others isolating

Signage on a South Surrey sidewalk reminds pedestrians to respect social-distancing guidelines. (Photo: Tracy Holmes)
Surrey records 4,400 COVID-19 cases in March

New cases almost doubled between February, March

President of the West Coast Fine Arts Show, Brian Croft, said pandemic restrictions necessitated a shift to an entirely online event this year, running until April 30. (File photo)
The West Fine Art Show shifts to an online-only event amid tighter health orders

Website version retains the flavour of the annual live exhibition

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Most Read