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‘A real morale boost’: Surrey Police Service rolls out first 10 marked cruisers

Click to play video: 'Surrey Police Service unveils new cruisers'
Surrey Police Service unveils new cruisers
The Surrey Police Service has rolled out its first dedicated cruisers. As Janet Brown reports, the forced hopes the new cars will reduce pulic confusion, and increase public confidence – Jul 2, 2024

The rubber has hit the road in Surrey’s police transition in a very literal sense.

The new Surrey Police Service (SPS) deployed the first 10 of its own marked and fully-equipped vehicles on Tuesday.

“This is a visual representation that we are here to stay, we are moving ahead,” Surrey Police Chief Norm Lipinski told Global News.

“It’s the first time and it’s a real morale boost for us. I’m excited to see those vehicles in the community and we have more coming.”

Lipinski said the officers were “beaming with pride” when handed the keys to the new vehicles.

The Ford SUVs are painted white with blue and gold striping and bear the SPS name and crest on the doors.

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Click to play video: 'What comes next after court backs transition to Surrey Police Service'
What comes next after court backs transition to Surrey Police Service

The rollout marks a key milestone in the city’s long and bumpy road to transition from the RCMP to its own municipal police force.

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The transition, initiated by former mayor Doug McCallum, is opposed by Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke and a council majority who challenged it in court earlier this spring.

The B.C. Supreme Court sided with the province in the dispute, clearing what appeared to be the final procedural hurdle, and the SPS is aiming for a transfer of command from the Mounties for Nov. 29.

“The sentiment has changed now after the court ruling, people are willing to move ahead, put this behind us,” said Surrey Coun. Doug Elford, who supports the transition.

“I think people underestimate the importance of having our own cars out there, it’s like an identity … it’s very impactful and this is a very significant moment in the transition.”

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Click to play video: 'Date announced for transitioning of Surrey municipal force'
Date announced for transitioning of Surrey municipal force

The SPS is aiming to add another 10 police vehicles this month, followed by 10 more in August for a total of 30 on the road by the end of summer. Each unit costs about $95,000 to deploy.

Prior to the deployment, Surrey Police Service officers were riding with Mounties or even sometimes driving RCMP vehicles.

Lipinski said he believes having SPS officers driving their own vehicles will add clarity for the public.

Calls for police service, however, will still go through the RCMP dispatch and then be relayed to the best available unit — regardless of whether they are Mounties or SPS.

“It doesn’t matter, it’s who is available, we work together on the front line. So nothing changes,” Lipinski said.

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Lipinski said the SPS is preparing to roll out a public consultation process to ask Surrey residents where they would most like to see resources deployed once the police force takes command in the city.

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