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Controversial Surrey Police Service launches social media accounts

Last Updated Mar 1, 2021 at 9:45 pm PDT

FILE - A Surrey Police cruiser sits outside the Cloverdale Recreation Centre during the first open house about creating an independent police force in Surrey. (Marcella Bernardo, NEWS 1130 Photo)

The Surrey Police Service launched Facebook and Twitter accounts Monday

A spokesperson for the controversial municipal police department says engagement is welcome but it must be respectful

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — Officers in Surrey’s controversial municipal police department may not be on the streets by spring as promised, but the force now has a presence on social media.

The Surrey Police Service (SPS) launched Facebook and Twitter accounts Monday.

Spokesperson Sharlene Brooks says the channels will give people more information on how the department is developing.

“We’re excited about this new launch, and we’re looking forward to engaging with the citizens, providing accurate and timely information,” she says.

“In addition to talking about facts, stats and accomplishments, I really do want to introduce the different people within the Surrey police service from a human interest perspective.”

Mayor Doug McCallum had promised the Surrey Police Service would be up and running by Spring of 2021. A chief was hired in November of 2020, but the police transition will not be complete until some time in 2022. The plan to set up a city force was a key part of McCallum’s 2018 election campaign. Replacing the RCMP has faced resistance from some residents, with critics largely taking issue with the cost and what they say was a lack of consultation.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the inaugural Tweet was greeted with replies from opponents of the transition.

Brooks says the plan is to use the accounts to engage in a respectful conversation with citizens.

“We’re open to discourse and different perspectives. I think that’s very healthy in the development process of a leadership organization that’s going to very connected to its community,” she says.

“I think there’s significant value in different opinions and perspectives being expressed, but of course in a respectful and meaningful way.”