Langley RCMP officers on duty. (Langley Advance Times files)

Langley RCMP officers on duty. (Langley Advance Times files)

New Township committee to tackle police priorities

New committee will also look at separating Township and City RCMP

Langley Township is creating a new Standing Committee on Police Priorities and Initiatives as it launches plans to expand the force and potentially sever its detachment from Langley City’s.

Langley Township announced the new committee last week. It will include a mix of Township council members and senior staff with some of the senior commanders at the Langley RCMP.

Mayor Eric Woodward, Councillor Barb Martens, Coun. Tim Baillie, and Township administrator Mark Bakken are to be on the committee, along with Supt. Adrian Marsden, who heads up the Langley RCMP detachment, and Insp. Steve Wade, the operations officer.

Woodward is recommending that Martens, a former long-serving Vancouver Police Department officer, serve as chair of the new committee.

The announcement of the new standing committee mentioned the complex and growing needs of the Township, which has seen rapid growth over the last decade, as well as the fact that it is moving towards “having its own dedicated RCMP detachment.”

“Additional communication and collaboration between council, our senior management and the Langley RCMP detachment will help us make progress on key Township of Langley initiatives, along with ensuring that our residents, businesses and taxpayers are getting the service they deserve, and are paying for,” said Mayor Eric Woodward. “There are a lot of important issues to work on, together.”

The Township is considering adding 15 more RCMP officers over the next several years, to keep up with growth.

Woodward and his Contract with Langley (CWL) majority on council have been moving towards separating the shared Langley RCMP detachment into two, one for the City and one for the Township.

There has been tension between Township and City over policing costs on and off for decades. The City, as the largely urban core of the region, typically sees more police calls, but the Township has been hiring officers at a faster pace for some time.

The move towards two detachments was initiated in December, shortly after the new council was sworn in.

Martens noted at the time that the Township wasn’t considering going down Surrey’s contentious route of switching to a civic police force – they planned to stick with the RCMP.

Although this is the first council to pursue this option seriously, it was first raised back in 2020, when then-officer in charge Supt. Murray Power noted that the Township’s population was growing faster than the number of police officers available to serve

Other communities have also split their detachments in the region recently, providing a possible model.

Pitt Meadows is separating its RCMP force from one it shared for decades with Maple Ridge.

READ MORE: RCMP costs prompt question of separate detachments for Langley

READ MORE: Langley Township may separate its RCMP from shared force with City

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