For those of you who do not know, I live in Surrey, British Columbia. It’s a beautiful town, filled with bright green trees and pockets of forests that make you feel like you’re in the middle of a fairy wonderland. Often times if you enter a forest in my hometown at the right time, you can completely forget that you’re in the heart of a city.
There are a lot of beautiful things about Surrey, every year the Indo-Canadian community throws huge parties, (when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic) and they provide the best food. We have the only Fusion Fest in the country, that I’m aware of, which brings people from all around the planet together to eat, drink, and be merry. You can meet people from Russia, India, Africa, Mexico, all in the same place and the food alone is reason to go, if not the music, the décor, and the people.
We have a very diverse community, and we are finally starting to see Black folk in and about Surrey, after a long drought of only Nigerian people, now we’re starting to see all kinds of Black people. Jamaican’s, Somalian’s, African’s, and it’s really cool to witness my city flourish with so many beautiful cultures coming together.
I very rarely read the paper however, because in Surrey, the newspapers mostly start with “guess who died today?” stories, and it’s often one horrible story after another, usually involving drug addiction, homelessness, poverty, or alcohol addiction, if not all combined.
As beautiful as Surrey is, we have our problems, all revolving around the above issues, and while there are many groups trying to combat these issues, I will say that it honestly feels like things have gotten worse, since my mom and I left the church that we worked in.
I’ve been told on more than one occasion, that things were better when my mom was in charge, I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know things are certainly different now that we’re not focused on doing our part in this city, I know that the crime and poverty rates have gone up over the last few years. I know that people here are struggling, and as much as the city of Surrey wants to paint everything with a pretty brush and talk about how beautiful and perfect things here are, the truth is, that’s not the reality.
The biggest building in the city is shaped like a gun pointing up at God, and I can’t get over that, because honestly, that’s just so “Surrey.”
Every once in awhile I imagine that I’m shooting that gun up to the Heaven’s as if to say “Yo, God, we need your help.” There is a lot that angers me about this city, like the fact that too many people are living on the street, too many people are going hungry, and too many people are suffering from racism, and the basic hateism that comes with being human.
But the thing that pisses me off the absolute most? Is the fact that Inspector Jeff Metcalfe will be leaving his job as Divisional Duty Officer, to join Surrey’s new city police force. Why is this a bad thing? Because he has a criminal record.
Not just for any old crime mind you, he has a DUI from an event in which he got drunk, and then got behind the wheel of a car. Look, thanks to the US, we know that a lot of cops don’t take their jobs seriously. Looking at you Chauvin, and I know that’s an extreme case and that most cops aren’t out there killing people, but I do believe that when they engage in behavior that could kill someone, they probably shouldn’t be cops anymore.
We already have a huge problem in this town with addiction, gangs, and guns, so why should any of the criminals who break the law take this man, or the law that he represents seriously, when he too, can drive drunk, and keep his job as a Police Inspector?
That’s the question that sits before us today, and it makes me really angry. I have my own issues with the cops here, because they know next to nothing about sex crimes in this city, and that’s largely because when women in this town say “yo, I’ve been raped or abused,” they are committed and called psychotic. So if we already know that we’re not going to be safe, with cops who don’t care about the law, or about protecting victims from criminal behavior, I truly believing that this hiring is only going to make things worse.
Surrey has a long habit of not listening to it’s constituents, I like the idea of Surrey having a police force in this town, because the RCMP are less than fucking useless, I know this for a fact.
I remember one time a new police officer called for all hands on deck, because he couldn’t deal with a homeless man, I watched as half a dozen cops ran across King George highway, and when one of them returned I asked what was happening, because I happened to know him in particular. He laughed and said “It was just Tim having a bad day,” most RCMP cops here who are new have 0 idea of how to deal with the homeless population, and I can say that, because I’ve seen it.
So I thought, maybe a Police force would be better trained, I figured maybe if we were spending all this money to switch from the historic RCMP to the Police Force, then maybe there’d be money in the budget to provide services for the homeless and the addicted people of this town, so that cops know how to deal with them. But how can that be, when we have a Police Inspector who has addiction issues of his own, that clearly have challenged his judgement in the past, and might do so again in the future?
I’m not saying that addiction issues should be the end of your life, because I have seen people who have come back from the brink of addiction as changed people, but what proof do we as a city have that this man, has dealt with his issues?
Unlike me however, there is a huge majority of this city that doesn’t want the Police Force, and would prefer to keep the RCMP, which is fine, I understand their reasons. I don’t agree with them, but I understand them.
I am biased however, because when I reported my sex crimes, I was committed and called psychotic, instead of an investigation being opened – for reference, I reported what happened to me four individual times, with two cops in Surrey, and a cop in North Delta working out of a fire station.
I am not stupid, I understand that this man probably has untold years of experience, that they can’t find anywhere else, but there is absolutely no reason he should be in a supervisory role. He hasn’t earned it. When you are a cop it is your job to uphold the law, when you break the law, you shouldn’t be allowed to be a cop anymore, at the very least, you probably shouldn’t be in charge, much less, carrying a gun. That’s the rule.
Doug McCallum’s response according to the Now News article that I’m reading as I write this? “To be honest with you, why don’t you write about the good ones once in awhile?” Honestly? because the “Good Ones” shouldn’t be given a gold star, for doing the bear minimum of their job. Staying sober for the record, is the bear minimum that is required to be a cop in any city.
I love this city so very much, but it is issues like this that really make me hate living here. I know that I have less than no credibility when it comes to politics, and the issues of this town, but as someone who lives and works here, I feel I have the right to say this, this stinks, and we need to do things differently if we want to be seen as the progressive up and coming city that the city of Surrey likes to promote us as.
We need to have higher standards for our city officials than we do for our citizens, because damnit if we don’t why the hell should our citizens listen to our city officials?
If he were anyone else he’d be in jail, but because he was a cop at the time of the DUI, and continues to be one now, Surrey is following the grand tradition of letting cops do whatever the hell they want and get away with it, and it’s really just quite frustrating.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall