Education key to combat violence, says Surrey’s new top cop

Chief Supt. Dwayne McDonald, the new officer in charge of the Surrey RCMP, at a news conference with Mayor Linda Hepner Oct. 4, 2016

Surrey’s new top cop will focus on education to help combat gang violence in the city.”Prevention and education initiatives are much more effective and much cheaper than law enforcement when things go wrong,” said Chief Supt. Dwayne McDonald.  The new chief was officially announced Tuesday, Oct. 4.  McDonald said Surrey is well-suited to an education-based campaign because of its large youth population.

“Typically when we talk about gang involvement and when we talk about shots fired, it usually involves a younger population, and it usually involves the drug trade,” he explained. “Those types of criminals prey on our young people, and they also try and seduce them into that lifestyle with the illusion of riches.”  He said the RCMP will conduct more proactive patrols and will partner with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit to target individuals or known gang locations.

Homelessness strategy

McDonald said another key area he’ll focus on is homelessness in Surrey — especially the notorious ‘strip’ in the neighbourhood of Whalley.

“Our primary concern is for the health and safety of the people who frequent the strip. Not only for the people who are camped there, but also for the residents, business owners that deal with those issues daily.”

He referred to the five years he lived in Whalley, a few miles from the strip, as informative.

“I’m very familiar with it, not only from a law enforcement point of view, but a resident point of view as well.”

McDonald was previously with the Burnaby RCMP detachment, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, and was most recently the head of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

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