British Columbia

'We will have to build the roadmap': Surrey appoints manager to lead transition from RCMP to city police force

Terry Waterhouse joined the city in 2015 as its first-ever director of public safety strategies — a title that was later changed to general manager of public safety.

Terry Waterhouse was city's 1st general manager of public safety

Terry Waterhouse joined the City of Surrey in 2015 as its first director of public safety strategies. As of Tuesday, he's the city's new general manager of policing transition. (City of Surrey)

The City of Surrey has appointed a new manager to lead its transition from using the RCMP to a city-run police force — one of the first details Mayor Doug McCallum has offered into how the change will look.

Terry Waterhouse was announced as the city's new general manager of policing transition late Tuesday.

Waterhouse joined the city in 2015 as its first ever director of public safety strategies — a title that was later changed to general manager of public safety.

On Wednesday, he said he'll have to forge his own path in his new role — as it's not often a Canadian city opts out of RCMP services.

"I think we will have to build the roadmap. It is an ambitious endeavour that has not been done much in Canada," Waterhouse said in a phone interview.

"I've worked with the RCMP in the past and we will continue to work together on this transition," he added.

Surrey RCMP has said it will not participate in the transition operation. (Gian Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Waterhouse worked with Mounties in his previous role, which included the oversight of the city's RCMP support services.

He has also worked as chief safety officer at Simon Fraser University, as well as in the school of criminology and criminal justice at the University of the Fraser Valley, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Mayor ran on city-run police force promise

Elected less than a month ago, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum ran on a platform of replacing the RCMP in favour of an independent, municipal police force. 

City council unanimously approved McCallum's motion to start forging that police department at the inaugural meeting of the city's new council meeting on Nov. 5.

Before Tuesday, McCallum hadn't provided many specifics about who would manage the switch or how the community and its values would influence the operation.

"With his extensive experience in the criminal justice system and his most recent tenure ... Terry is well suited to lead the transition planning to a municipal police department for Surrey," the mayor wrote in a statement Tuesday.

Doug McCallum was sworn in as Surrey's mayor on Nov. 5. (Colin Fode/CBC)

McCallum has said that an independent police force could be up and running by the beginning of 2021. There's no guarantee that will happen, as RCMP need at least two years of formal notice from a city to leave, and McCallum's motion only asked staff to start that process.

Surrey RCMP has said it will not participate in the transition operation.

It's currently the largest RCMP detachment in Canada, with more than 1,000 officers and support staff.

With files from Yvette Brend

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