With the recommendations from the recently completed Pickton inquiry, there has been some discussion of regionalizing our police force. I fully support these discussions, as a resident, and a former local politician.
I once looked out a window to see my van being stolen in Port Moody, 30 seconds from the Coquitlam border by at least two routes. I was able to call in the theft immediately and, fortunately, Port Moody Police did find my van within minutes - in Coquitlam. When I asked them how the inter-force communication works, with a moving crime happening so close to the municipal boundary, they told me that Coquitlam wouldn't even be alerted about such an event.
While a car theft is not a "serious" crime, I fail to believe that not informing police in the vicinity makes sense.
I also wonder how open the communication channel even is - I know when calling 911 that not only do I need to state the kind of emergency, but also the municipality, so I can be put through to the right dispatch.
These delays would be very stressful in an urgent situation. What happens if you are near a municipal boundary and don't even know what city you are in? And if you're near the many municipal boundaries in our region, are the closest officers being alerted, or just the ones within that municipality?
I heard an officer with IHIT, the fairly recent and optional regional integrated homicide unit, interviewed on radio this past week, and he sidestepped the question of whether things would be better if all the cities were forced to participate in IHIT. All he would do was point to the increased cooperation he'd seen between forces in recent years, since the heinous crimes of Pickton.
"Better" cooperation may not be good enough in our modern society.
Let's have the debate. And let's not let it be clouded by loud voices which may be motivated by workforce seniority, municipal "turfs," or the number of upper positions that might exist in a unified force. Let's have our discussion be transparent and focused on public safety.
Cynthia van Ginkel, Burnaby
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