Jackson strikes preemptively against regional police force
Although there are no plans underway to create a regional police force in the Lower Mainland, Delta Mayor Lois Jackson is making it clear the municipality isn't interested in being involved.
"It has been proved over and over again that we are well served by our municipal force," said Jackson at the Mayor's Dialogue on Regionalization in Ladner Wednesday evening.
Jackson made the comments following Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson's public support for a regional police force, one of 63 recommendations made by Wally Oppal in the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.
Oppal blamed a lack of cooperation between police forces as the reason serial killer Robert Pickton was able to kidnap and murder so many women.
But Jackson countered that by saying the reason Delta was able to apprehend the killer of Laura Szendrei was because the police are involved in the community.
"They knew the kids in the playgrounds, they knew where the troubled houses were, they knew what great innovative and investigative skills that they had," she said.
A regional police force wouldn't have known these things, she added.
But Oppal said Delta can still have community-based policing and join a regional police force.
"I know that's always a fear in communities such as Delta," said Oppal. "But I think we need to understand those two concepts and principles are not mutually exclusive."
Vancouver deputy police chief Doug Lepard said it's possible to have big police departments that are extremely connected to the community.
"If we were starting from scratch to design the best policing model for the Lower Mainland, no one would design what we have now," he said, voicing Vancouver's support for a regional model.
Delta police chief Jim Cessford supports the idea of provincially funded regional police forces that tackle specific problems like drug trafficking and gangs, but wants Delta's police department to stay the course.
Cessford said Delta's model of policing, where "no call is too small," is the one that works best for its residents.
Meanwhile the RCMP, which polices most of the communities in the Lower Mainland, has stated neutrality on the issue, preferring to defer to politicians.