Surrey’s top cop had some sharp words for critics of the city’s RCMP detachment, as the process of replacing it with a new civic police force grinds on.
Speaking at the 23rd Annual Surrey RCMP awards, Officer in Charge of the Surrey RCMP Asst. Comm. Dwayne McDonald lashed out at those he said were unfairly impugning the work officers are doing in the city.
“We can’t police a large city? We’ve been doing it since 1951. I would challenge any other large city in this country to police with the resources we do and do a better job,” said McDonald.
“I’m just saying, if you want more boots on the ground, give me more boots.”
McDonald didn’t name names in his speech.
But his most focused broadside came in the wake of public criticism of the detachment, including from former West Vancouver police chief and solicitor general Kash Heed and ex-Mountie Chris Backus, who organized a rally last year. Backus said he believes many officers would leave the RCMP for a new municipal force.
“If I have to listen to one more ex-chief of police on life support or some fallen-from-grace former public official with an axe to grind or an uninformed academic call into question the integrity and professionalism and dedication of the men and women of the Surrey RCMP, I am going to snap,” said McDonald to loud applause.
“I’m just saying that some of these people have been put out to pasture for a reason, so let’s not forget it.”
It’s not the first time McDonald has gone public to defend the detachment.
In June 2018, he wrote an open letter to the city after a trio of innocent civilians were killed in apparently gang-related incidents.
In that letter, McDonald acknowledged the work of the Surrey RCMP was under the microscope amid escalating gang violence, but defended the detachment’s policing model.
He went on to urge residents to understand that many Surrey RCMP officers are themselves neighbours and members of the community, and personally committed to public safety.
McDonald has served as Officer in Charge of the Surrey RCMP since 2016.