Pitt Meadows is in the process of reviewing policing. (Contributed)

Pitt Meadows police review nearing recommendations

Report to council expected as soon as November

As part of its review of RCMP services, Pitt Meadows councillors learned about the dog handlers, forensic investigators and other teams that serve the city.

Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge are conducting joint reviews of police services in their cities. It was announced in June, and and Pitt Meadows Mayor Bill Dingwall expects a report to come back to council by the end of November or in December.

There has been discussion of the possibility of Pitt Meadows having its own RCMP detachment, separate from Maple Ridge.

In a presentation that spanned more than two hours, councillors learned what the city gets for the $400,000 per year it spends on integrated police teams.

There were 134 calls for service from the teams in 2018/2019. These teams include:

• Integrated Police Dog Service (IPDS)

• Integrated Forensic Identification Service (IFIS), which has a unit in Ridge Meadows

• Integrated Emergency Response Team (ERT),

• Integrated Collision Analysis Reconstruction Service (ICARS)

• Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT)

Chief superintendent Brian Edwards, officer in charge or Lower Mainland District integrated teams, led a large delegation of officers that included representatives from all of the teams, and brought a police dog for a photo op.

There are 339 people involved in the teams, from 28 RCMP detachments and five municipal forces. Funding for these services comes from 79 per cent municipal, 16 per cent provincial and five per cent federal, and totals $66.8 million per year.

“It’s clearly an enhanced level of service, dealing with competent people and professionals that are extremely passionate,” said Dingwall. “When we need them in our community we are able to access that in a really speedy fashion.”

He called it “$400,000 well spent,” and said it is important for both council and community members to understand the level of expertise available through the sharing of resources.

“It was really important as part of our police review,” said Dingwall. “No matter where we went up in the review, those are contracted services we would maintain.”

Dingwall said there is little chance the review would result in Pitt Meadows following in Surrey’s footsteps.

“I don’t think there will be a municipal detachment . We haven’t gone down that road at all.”

But a Pitt Meadows RCMP detachment, separate from Maple Ridge, has been on the table.

“Policing needs in the two communities are different,” said Dingwall, who is a former detachment commander in Ridge Meadows.

Maple Ridge has publicly called for a new provincial police force.

Pitt Meadows has hired retired RCMP superintendent Tonia Enger to conduct the review. She also worked with the province in the police services division of the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

Enger is looking at issues such as the file loads, the types of files prisoner counts between the two cities.


 

@NeilCorbett18
ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

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