VANCOUVER – The officer-in-charge of Surreys RCMP detachment is leaving his post amid the citys pending transition to a municipal police force.
“As it stands right now, the City of Surrey’s contract for RCMP policing services has not been terminated,” his statement read. “The province of B.C. has put in place a robust and objective process to study the City of Surrey’s proposal for a municipal police force, and I am confident that their decision on this matter will be fully informed.”
But Asst. Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, who is taking a new job with the B.C. RCMP, told reporters that Surreys ongoing push for a local police department wasnt behind his decision.
“While I look forward to taking on this challenging and exciting new portfolio, I must admit this was not an easy decision for me to make,” McDonald said in a statement. “My past three years as the officer in charge of the Surrey detachment have been the most interesting and engaging in my career.”
"Im very mindful that some may view my departure as a harbinger of the policing transition," McDonald said at a news conference Wednesday. "I want to assure you that this is unequivocally not the case."
Switching to a municipal force was a key promise in Mayor Doug McCallums election campaign last year – a pledge that hinged on the premise that the community would be better served by a new department than it has been by the RCMP.
McCallum has since claimed gang crime in the city is the "worst its ever been." By contrast, the RCMP has released statistics showing violent crime has been on the decline, and that overall crime reached a 10-year low in 2018.
"I would like to thank the mayor and council, as well as all the staff at city hall for the privilege of serving as your police chief," he said.
The commissioner will remain with the Surrey detachment until a replacement is hired, and insisted his departure will not impact policing operations in the city.
He also said hes confident the transition team appointed by the province to oversee the switch will be "fully informed" in its decisions.
Asst. Commr. Dwayne McDonald will leave the Surrey RCMP to head up the RCMP's criminal operations unit, overseeing federal investigations and organized crime in B.C. Gerry Kahrmann / PNG
McDonalds new title will be the RCMPs criminal operations officer in charge of federal, investigative services and organized crime for B.C. He said hell be tackling money laundering, gang activity, cybercrime and other problems faced by communities across the province.
A British family who complained about being unfairly detained in the U.S. after “accidentally” crossing the border from a Vancouver suburb has been deported. 2
Mounties confirmed Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald's decision on Wednesday, saying he was chosen to become the RCMP's criminal operations officer in charge of federal and organized crime investigations for the province of B.C.
McDonald said it's a decision he didn't take lightly. The move comes at a challenging time for the country's largest RCMP detachment, as Surrey is transitioning to a municipal police force.
"I have to admit this was not an easy decision for me. I love policing in this city," he said.
"I'm very mindful that some may view my departure as a harbinger of policing transition … I want to ensure you this is unequivocally not the case."
The city aims to complete the switch by 2021. Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum successfully campaigned in 2018 on a promise to replace the RCMP with an independent force, though the issue has created discord within city council and residents since.
While McDonald has been known to openly disagree with the mayor's plan, he said his views on the transition played no role in his decision to leave and he is confident the police force is in good hands.
"I have no issues with the mayor," he said. "Sometimes we have differences of opinion, like I do with many people."
RCMP Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan said in a statement the City of Surrey and local RCMP "are fully engaged" in finding a replacement for McDonald "as soon as possible, to ensure the least amount of disruption to members, staff and the community."
McDonald has been an RCMP officer for more than 30 years and stepped into the police chief role with Surrey RCMP in 2016.
He has worked with the Gang Task Force, Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit B.C. (CFSEU-BC) and the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team. He is expected to stay in his current role in the city until a successor is chosen.
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