It's not a new idea, but it's one that's getting floated around with increasing regularity: would the Lower Mainland be better served with a regional police force? As it stands today, a half dozen cities have their own independent departments -Abbotsford, New Westminster, Vancouver and Delta, for example.
The rest, including Chilliwack, Burnaby, Coquitlam and Surrey, are served by RCMP detachments.
The disconnect between these various bodies was just one of many points raised in Wally Oppal's report on the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry in December.
Vancouver police chief Jim Chu brought the question back to the front pages this week with a response to Oppal's report in which he backed the concept of a Greater Vancouver force.
To many, it's a black-and-white question with just one solution: you either come together as one force covering the entire zone, or you leave things as they are, with different approaches in different cities.
In truth, there's a spectrum of possibilities: how about one force for north of the Fraser and one for south of it? Or, three forces running from west to east -the first covering Vancouver, Richmond, Delta, Burnaby and New West; the second overseeing Surrey, Langley, Tri-Cities and Maple Ridge; and the third taking the Fraser Valley portion up to Hope?
Alternatively, why not leave the departments as they stand now but create sub-units specifically aimed at creating collaboration-like the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team-in which police members from different areas could come together across city lines to work on common projects and efforts.
The only solution that should be dismissed outright is the one currently in place: ignore the debate till it goes away.
The time has come to tackle this question once and for all and find solutions that work for all cities.
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