Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, in charge of the Surrey Police Service that’s set to replace the Surrey RCMP, told the police board on Tuesday that four more executive positions have been posted, the fledgling department has “good momentum,” and that “comprehensive” community engagement will be done this year.
“We’re walking through the steps of obtaining those applications and through the interview process that will eventually lead to an offer of employment,” he said. “I’m comfortable with where we are at and the applications that we are getting.”
“I am very pleased to have two deputy chiefs hired,” he said, referring to Jennifer Hyland, who will be responsible for support services, and Mike LeSage, responsible for community policing. A third has yet to be hired.
Lipinski said he has spoken with most of the municipal police chiefs in the Lower Mainland and will turn his attention to those on Vancouver Island, seeking their ideas “on how best, from their perspective, we could do the transition keeping in mind there will probably be a number of police officers from all of those agencies that may want to join the Surrey Police Service.”
He noted he also speaks on “a regular basis” to Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards, in charge of the Surrey RCMP detachment.
“I’ve been in contact with the executive staff at “E” Division and we are discussing a number of different areas. These are very, very preliminary discussions and I think it’s very, very positive of the direction we’re going together,” Lipinski told the police board.
He said he’s also spoken with the president of CUPE 402. “Of course a lot of civilian staff from Surrey detachment will eventually be coming over to Surrey Police Service and so we’re building relationships there and looking towards putting together a regular messaging to the staff in order to keep them apprised of the progress to date.”
“So in the last four weeks that is what we have covered off,” Lipinski told the board. “It’s quite a bit, but I think we’re on our way and we have good momentum.”
He said Hyland’s support services bureau will be the first to be built, “because of course we have to stand up our recruiting unit.”
Lipinski added that the new police force is looking at developing a number of social media platforms. “I think it is important for the public to be informed as we move forward about our progress to date, he said. That will take a little bit of time and we are consulting with some experts in that domain,” he said. “It’s moving along nicely, but it’s initial planning.”
The chief constable also told the board the SPS is working on community engagement. “This is extremely important for me.”
“Of course it’s a little bit challenging with the pandemic, but we’ll be putting together a plan that in the coming months we will engage in the community as we move forward but the timing has to be right for that, meaning we have to have a plan, a strategic plan, first and that is sort of the structure, the bare-bones structure, and then we will consult with the community and then we will consult with the community and then we will put a more comprehensive strategic plan together,” Lipinski reported. “So you can appreciate that that’s a lot of work and a lot of discussion but we will do that community engagement this year of course and I intend to make it quite comprehensive.”
He was asked no questions from the board members, whose next meeting is set for Feb. 17.