Pitt Meadows could be moving towards its own RCMP detachment, if council accepts the recommendation of the police services review.
The RCMP Police Services Review, announced last June by Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge, looked at three possibilities, including keeping the status quo in which Ridge Meadows detachment officers still police Pitt Meadows.
Another option was to keep the joint-services model with Maple Ridge but provide more service, resources and more autonomy to the Pitt Meadows community police office.
But the study, which comes out Friday, recommended Pitt Meadows form its own detachment, which it said could operate for about the yearly $5.7 million that Pitt Meadows is paying now for policing.
Next Tuesday, Feb. 18, the public’s invited to a special council meeting on the issue at Pitt Meadows Heritage Hall at 7 p.m.
Dingwall said council wants to hear from residents and has yet to make a final decision.
“We believe this is likely the most important issue for this council for this term,” said Dingwall, adding it deals with public safety and health.
Once public input has been received, council will make a decison in March.
“We’ve already made a number of motions that pertain to that,” said Dingwall.
He said Pitt Meadows has already talked with Katzie First Nation and the City of Maple Ridge.
Approval of the Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth and commanding officer of the RCMP in B.C. is also needed – if council decided it wanted its own detachment.
Dingwall said consultation with the residents is the final piece before a decision is made.
“We left them to the end so we had all the context … all the other stakeholders, as we go to our community.”
If council decides to pursue a separate detachment, it could take between one and three years before it’s operating.
“It’s somewhere in there, that we start to see some of the transition towards an independent detachment,” Dingwall said.
The community would also have to decide if it would renovate its existing community policing office or build a new detachment headquarters, Dingwall added.
Pitt Meadows residents have been mailed leaflets inviting them to attend Tuesday’s meeting.
Council then will make a full and formal decision in a few weeks, he added.
One benefit of having its own detachment is that officers will stay for three years, he said.
“We believe, once people read the report, they will likely come to the same conclusion, and that we believe, is perhaps where we’re heading. And then we need to secure the approvals from the commanding officer and the Minister of Public Safety,” Dingwall said.
Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden said Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are different communities with different policing needs.
“Most important to us both are the public whose needs are heard and responded to accordingly, to deliver a responsive, cost-effective police service appropriate for our cities,” he said Tuesday.
He added both cities are working together on several issues, such as transit, roads and Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Pitt Meadows residents can comment on the review by going to: haveyoursaypittmeadows.ca.