British Columbia

Job posting for new police chief in Surrey, B.C., closes after just 2 weeks

The deadline has passed for applications to become chief of the new Surrey Police Service, but critics are charging the process was too rushed.

Critics say process was rushed, not well thought-out

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum was elected on a promise to create a new municipal force. The deadline to apply to lead that department closed on Friday after just 16 days. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The deadline has passed for applications to become chief of the new Surrey Police Service and critics are charging the process was too rushed.

The posting for chief constable closed Friday afternoon, just 16 days after it was first opened.

Surrey Coun. Linda Annis told CBC she was "absolutely shocked and extremely disappointed" by how little time was dedicated to the search.

"I think the mayor just wants to get the job done. This has been his pet project and it's not been a clear and transparent project. It's not been a well thought-out project," she said.

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum was elected on a promise of ditching the RCMP and creating a new municipal force. The department was officially created three weeks ago during the inaugural meeting of the new police board.

The force is set to be up and running on April 1, 2021, the day after city's contract with the RCMP ends.

Leadership at the National Police Federation, which acts as the bargaining agent for more than 20,000 RCMP and reservists, pointed out that other Canadian cities often spend months searching for a new chief constable.

"The police board should perhaps maybe delay that search so they can open it up to a greater number of candidates and hold a proper executive search like most jurisdictions do," federation president Brian Sauvé said.

Former B.C. attorney general Wally Oppal, chair of the Surrey police transition task force, said he is confident the police board will have an open process to choose a new police chief. (Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press)

Requests for comment from McCallum were not answered.

But Wally Oppal, chair of the Surrey police transition task force, said he thinks the process is moving at a fair pace.

"I have every confidence in the Surrey police board," he said. "They'll do the right thing, it'll be transparent, open, and anybody who is qualified will get an interview."

The B.C. government approved the switch to a municipal force in February and appointed the police board in June.

With files from Jon Hernandez

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