An example of a Surrey Police cruiser showcased at Mayor Doug McCallum’s State of the City Address at Civic Hotel on May 7. (Photo: Amy Reid)

An example of a Surrey Police cruiser showcased at Mayor Doug McCallum’s State of the City Address at Civic Hotel on May 7. (Photo: Amy Reid)

Surrey spent $15K on police cruiser prototype for a force not yet approved

Mayor Doug McCallum showcased the vehicle in May, outside his State of the City Address

The Now-Leader has learned the City of Surrey spent $15,851.64 on a Surrey Police Department vehicle prototype, showcased outside Mayor Doug McCallum’s State of the City Address in May.

The cost for the “temporary decals” are broken down as follows: $5,775 for graphic design services; $4,700.64 for production and application of decals, and $5,376 for a three-month lease of the vehicle.

According to city staff, the vehicle “has not been fitted out as a police vehicle” but instead “had temporary decals applied to be used during the City’s consultation events to gather feedback from the public on the proposed branding for the proposed Surrey Police Department.”

McCallum said Thursday (June 20) that the city has a budget that goes “towards the transition,” and the cost of the temporary decals is part of the budget. He added that it was “a pretty reasonable amount.”

However, lone Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis said spending “that kind of money as a marketing tool is, in my opinion, is not good use of taxpayers money.” She said there was also a separate cost for other marketing materials.

“I think it’s far too soon to be producing marketing materials like that,” she said. “The report has not yet been approved from Victoria. It’s not a done deal. We shouldn’t be investing money on the Surrey police force to market it until such time that the provincial government either gives us a yes or a no.”

Councillor Laurie Guerra, who ran with McCallum on his Safe Surrey Coalition slate, told the Now-Leader, that it was “a brave, gutsy move” to put the cruiser out there to the public.

“I think that probably would have been worth its weight in gold.”

The cruiser raised eyebrows when it was revealed at the May 7 event, seeing as the provincial government has not yet approved the city’s proposed shift to a municipal force.

Inside, during his speech at Civic Hotel, McCallum also played a video showcasing uniforms for the proposed force.

At the time, Annis took issue with the mayor unveiling uniforms and police cruisers.

“I know that’s part of the marketing and part of the sales pitch for switching the police but really at the end of the day the sales pitch should be how are we going to feel safer by making the switch,” she told the Now-Leader.

Since then, the City of Surrey has submitted its proposed transition plan to the provincial government for approval, but no decision has yet been made.

SEE ALSO: McCallum says Surrey Police officers will be patrolling streets by July 2020

After the report was submitted to the province – following months of speculation and controversy – it was publicly released on June 3.

The City of Surrey’s proposed transition plan to convert from RCMP states the force would “go live” on April 1, 2021 and its operating costs will be $192.5 million that year.

That’s a 10.9 per cent increase from the $173.6 million the city projects the RCMP would cost that year. The report states that a unionization drive is underway within the RCMP and if achieved, “the gap between the cost of the Surrey RCMP and the cost of the Surrey PD would be eliminated.”

Scroll down to read the full report.

There are also an estimated $39.2 million in start-up costs.

Between 2019-2021, the plan proposes to spend $11.8 million on recruiting and equipment, $7.6 million on IT systems and facilities and $0.4 million on vehicle transition, totalling $19.8 million.

The remaining $19.4 million in start-up costs will pay for a “phased staff transition”: $3.3 million in 2019, $8.7 million in 2020, $7.1 million in 2021 and $0.3 million in 2022.

READ ALSO: Surrey policing report a “disappointment,” Annis says

While the proposed municipal force would have fewer officers, the report says it would have more staff overall.

Currently, Surrey RCMP has 843 members although the city report says 51 of those positions are vacant, meaning a “funded strength” of 792 officers. There are also 302 City of Surrey employees supporting the RCMP.

Surrey RCMP, however, says they don’t have 51 vacant positions but that those positions are created to cover temporary vacancies, when needed, such as maternity or sick leaves.

“It is important to note that we currently have a full complement of police officers at Surrey Detachment,” Surrey RCMP said in an emailed statement after the report’s release.

ut, the new force would have “more boots on the ground,” according to the report, by way of a 16 per cent increase in frontline patrol officers.

“In addition, 84 per cent of Surrey PD officers will be constables,” the report notes. “The organizational structure of the Surrey PD was designed to maximize the number of frontline practitioners.”

The report states that staff will increase by five per cent overall, that there will be a 16 per cent increase in frontline officers and a 29 per cent increase in school liaison and youth officers.

“The Surrey PD will build strong relationships with Surrey youth and engage in gang prevention activities, youth diversion programs, and youth counselling referrals,” the report states.

Earlier this week, Councillor Brenda Locke slammed the plan, saying it would mean fewer officers for Sophie’s Place, a child advocacy centre dedicated to children who are victims of physical, mental or sexual abuse.

READ MORE: Surrey councillor says proposed police force ‘fails’ abused children

In February, city council endorsed a report that supported a “minimum of 11” officers from Surrey RCMP’s Special Victims Unit being stationed at Sophie’s Place.

“But the police report creating the Surrey Police Department now calls for just seven officers, with additional resources at ‘peak times’ coming from other parts of the proposed police department,” said Locke. “All this will take place with a new police force that will have fewer officers than our current RCMP detachment. I am deeply concerned that this lack of attention and solid commitment puts all of our children at risk.”

In an emailed statement, Mayor Doug McCallum said “the information Councillor Locke is providing amounts to fearmongering.”

“Staffing levels for Surrey Police, just as it is now for Surrey RCMP, is determined by the Chief of Police,” the statement reads.

“The proposed staffing model in the Surrey Policing Transition Report is a starting point and officers can be moved and added to sections as deemed appropriate by the SPD Chief. It should be noted that under the new SPD model the 7 officers dedicated to Sophie’s Place would be complimented by and is part of a larger Special Investigations Section.”

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

Just Posted

One of the Choices Lottery grand prize packages includes a home located at 16730 19 Ave., Surrey. (Contributed photo)
Two South Surrey homes featured in Choices Lottery

Tickets on sale now for BC Children’s Hospital lottery

Pindie Dhaliwal, one of the organizers for the Surrey Challo protest for Indian farmers. She says organizers were told by Surrey RCMP that the event was not allowed due to COVID-19. Organizers ended up moving the protest to Strawberry Hill at the last minute. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Indian farmers rally moves as organizers say Surrey RCMP told them they couldn’t gather

Protest originally planned in Cloverdale, moved to Strawberry Hill

The City of Surrey is currently working through the initial phase for a park that’ll be built at 72 Avenue and 191 Street in Clayton. (Image via City of Surrey)
New park to be built in Clayton Heights

City of Surrey asking for feedback from Clayton residents

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a Surrey high-intensity rehabilitation unit, Laurel Place. On Dec. 22, 2020, Fraser Health said four patients and two staff members have tested positive for the virus. (Image: Google Street View)
Fraser Health says COVID-19 outbreak over at Laurel Place in Surrey

Health authority declared outbreak over Jan. 16

(Photo by Kevin Hill)
40 cases linked to Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

Fraser Health says two death are associated with the outbreak

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

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

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

sdf
Another Mission student arrested for assault, in 2nd case of in-school violence this week

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Most Read