Township Councillor Eric Woodward (left) told the Sept. 21, 2020 meeting of council it is time to look into the cost of having a Township-only RCMP detachment, after the current officer in charge of the shared police force, Supt. Murray Power (right) was reassigned in the wake of a Langley City controversy. (file)

Time to look at separate RCMP detachments for Langley Township and Langley City, councillor says

Eric Woodward said the Township ‘lost a good superintendent’ over City controversy

Currently, Langley Township and Langley City are served by the same RCMP detachment.

But after the officer-in-charge (OIC), Supt. Murray Power, was reassigned in the wake of a Langley City Council controversy, a Township councillor thinks it’s time to look into having separate detachments.

Councillor Eric Woodward made the proposal at the Monday, Sept. 21 evening meeting of Township council.

“We’ve lost our superintendent, based on what’s going on in Langley City,” Woodward commented.

Power was reassigned after reports came out about his involvement in the Jan. 25 “Winter Wonderland” fundraising gala, organized by City mayor Val van den Broek, that raised $56,000 for the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation.

In an e-mail message encouraging detachment members to attend the event, Power pointed out that a four-hour overtime shift would be enough to cover costs of two people attending.

An independent review ordered by the City found that while RCMP officers were not directly paid overtime to attend the event, the remarks had created confusion.

A follow-up report has been ordered.

READ MORE: Additional review of Langley City mayor’s gala ordered by council

RCMP E-Division headquarters has declined to give reasons for Power’s reassignment.

Saying the OIC shouldn’t serve “two masters,” Woodward proposed that the Township should investigate the cost of having separate RCMP detachments serving the Township and City compared to the expense of the current arrangement, where both Langleys share policing.

Woodward’s written notice of motion to council argued having an RCMP detachment that is solely responsible to the Township “would ensure that issues within and unique to the Township of Langley take first priority, and that all law enforcement resources and management attention would be dedicated only to Township of Langley residents, businesses and issues, not those within another municipality.”

Woodward noted the Township is growing much faster than the City, and the cost sharing agreement between the two municipalities includes “terms for the eventual separation of the services of the RCMP for the Township of Langley and the City of Langley if reasonable and appropriate to do so.”

Woodward wanted staff to prepare a report in time for 2021 budget deliberations, outlining the costs associated with “terminating” the agreement.

“I’m frustrated, Woodward said.

“I think we lost a good superintendent.”

READ MORE: Langley’s top cop reassigned amid charity gala questions

Reaction from other members of council ranged from cautious interest to opposition.

Coun. Bob Long called the proposal “incredibly opportunistic.”

“This is not something council should be weighing in on,” Long declared, predicting news that the Township was looking into a potential split could create consternation in the community.

Instead, Long suggested council should have a workshop to learn how the police sharing arrangement actually works.

Coun. Blair Whitmarsh urged caution.

“We have an incident that has occurred and we don;t know much about it,” Whitmarsh warned.

Before Township council takes the step of ordering a report on the financial costs of separation,Whitmarsh said there should be a “philosophical” look at the issue, to decide whether it is a priority.

“This is a big ask and a big task,” Whitmarsh commented.

Coun. Kim Richter called it a “timely” proposal worth looking into.

Councillor David Davis noted the Township would be raising the prospect of splitting the police at a time when it was also trying to convince the City to share revenue from the Cascades casino.

Describing the idea of separate detachments as a “huge thing,” Davis said “I don’t feel I have enough information.”

Couns Petrina Arnason and Margaret Kunst also favoured a workshop, with Arnason saying the Township should be aware of the “economic consequences” of a split and Kunst cautioning that the Township relationship with the City was “very important.”

A majority of council voted to refer the matter to a priorities meeting in November, to decide if such a report should be prepared.

Mayor Jack Froese said his understanding of the situation is that Power was “reassigned temporarily” and the Township doesn’t know if he will be “assigned back” to Langley.

“I have not received an official word on the reasons why,” Froese told council.

Froese said the suggestions the reassignment was connected to the City mayor’s gala controversy was “buying into the media.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Langley CityLangley TownshipRCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives photo)
LETTER: Think of seniors when casting vote

With the provincial election on Saturday, a local seniors group reminds voters to think about elders

A request for a tax exemption by the Langley Food Bank has prompted a review of the way such requests are handled by Langley City (Langley Advance Times file)
Langley City reviews tax breaks after turning request by food bank

Was one of four groups asking to be added to the tax exemption list

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
COVID case confirmed at Fort Langley Seniors Community

One of five new cases reported by Fraser health Authority

Langley’s Ken Cormack (L) and Craig Brown won the B.C. Match Play Net Championship on Sunday, Oct. 18 in Richmond (Courtesy Ken Cormack)
Two ‘dads’ from Langley win B.C. Match Play Net Championship of golf

‘We were just doing it to have fun and have a laugh’

John Horgan brought the NDP campaign to Langley on Wednesday, Oct. 21, just three days before the B.C. vote (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Horgan brings NDP campaign to Langley

Predicts gains, says people are looking at the party ‘differently’ after three years

Mary Foote (right) took part in the Gutsy Walk in August 2020 at the age of 104. She was joined by son in-law Clarence and daughter Edith Olson. (family photo)
Langley woman turns 105 on Oct. 25

In August, Mary Foote took part in the Gutsy Walk to battle Crohn’s and Colitis

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

In this file photo, snow is seen falling along the Coquihalla Highway. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Weather statement issued for Coquihalla, Hwy 3, as arctic front approaches

The early season snowfall expected to hit Fraser Valley, Friday, Oct. 23

Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Most Read