In recent weeks, Vancouver has come out strongly in favour of a regional police force. It seems strange, considering Vancouver has showed little interest in the regional policing options already on the table for the past decade.
Since 2003, almost every police unit in the Lower Mainland has sent some of its officers to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team - IHIT. They're murder specialists, some of the best RCMP investigators from throughout the Lower Mainland's municipalities. Civic forces like New Westminster and Abbotsford have joined, as well.
But not Vancouver. Vancouver investigates its own murders, and IHIT's remit stops at Boundary Road.
We share a number of other policing costs across borders in the Lower Mainland. When people talk about local versus regional, do they know that the police helicopter service, or the police dog service, or various traffic and accident investigation services are already shared?
There are arguments to be made for a regional force, and for keeping police forces local. Large means more resources, more shared information about murders and gang crime; local means more specialized knowledge on the ground, the kind only gained by putting shoe leather down on the sidewalks and streets.
Maybe Vancouver's change of heart is genuine, but it may simply be due to the idea that the biggest city in the Metro region should be in charge - not that it would be, considering that it's outweighed by its neighbours.
If Vancouver is so interested in a regional force, why jump in all at once?
Why not put on the training wheels, join IHIT, and see how that works out first?