Markita Kaulius, with picture of her daughter Kassandra – who was killed by a drunk driver in Surrey – in the background. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Hiring cop who drove impaired sends wrong signal, Surrey mom of drunk driving victim says

Surrey councillor says hiring ‘implies that SPS standards are low or that it is desperate to fill positions’

A Surrey mom who will be marking the 10th anniversary of her daughter being killed by a drunk driver on May 3 is stunned that the Surrey Police Service just hired an inspector that recently came off a 90-day driving prohibition for being impaired while behind the wheel.

Inspector Jeff Metcalfe will leave his job as Divisional Duty Officer, BC-RCMP Criminal Operations to join Surrey’s new city police force, set to replace the Surrey RCMP. He did not respond to requests for comment.

“He is not going to be doing any interviews,” Sharlene Brooks, public affairs and communications manager for the Surrey Police Service, told the Now-Leader. “He actually doesn’t even start with the SPS until May.”

Panorama resident Markita Kaulius lost her daughter Kassandra, age 22, to a drunk driver in 2011 in Surrey and since then has dedicated herself to lobbying government for better impaired driving laws through a group she founded, Families for Justice.

“The signal that it sends is basically yes, you can get convicted and it’s not a big deal it won’t affect your work or anything like that,” Kaulius said of the hire. “Well the reality is most people, it does affect their employment I’m sure.”

“He’s a representative of the law, and in no way should he ever have got behind the wheel of a vehicle while being impaired.,” she said. “Really by the grace of God he didn’t hit somebody or kill somebody, right.”

READ ALSO: Surrey Police Service confirms there is truth to allegations new inspector drove impaired

READ ALSO ZYTARUK: The Surrey Police Service really needs to get its act together

Brooks said the SPS conducts thorough background reviews of all prospective hires and that Metcalfe “made full disclosure of the circumstances and has taken complete responsibility for his actions.

“The Surrey Police is more than satisfied that Inspector Metcalfe will make a strong contribution to the Surrey Police team and appreciates his candor during the interview and hiring process and look forward to welcoming him in May and benefiting from his 24 years of policing service,” Brooks said. “Surrey Police Service will not be making any further comment on this matter.”

Kaulius said she hopes Metcalfe “will have learned his lesson and go out and speak to people about the mistakes that he made. You can’t condemn somebody for one action that they did, but still as a representative of the law that was a pretty bad judgment on his part.”

Meantime, Surrey city Councillor Linda Annis has written an open letter to the Surrey Police Board “on behalf of Surrey taxpayers” seeking an explanation of the SPS’s hiring process and practices,” specifically in Metcalfe’s case.

“For a new force working together to build a credible reputation in our community, the decision to hire an inspector who has demonstrated such a serious and potentially dangerous lack of judgment creates questions about the hiring process,” Annis wrote to the mayor and the police board. “To many in our community this specific hiring decision implies that SPS standards are low or that it is desperate to fill positions. Neither engenders trust.”

McCallum told the Now-Leader at press time he had nothing to do with the interviewing or hiring process. “It’s up to them to make that decision. I understand though that he was forthright and they did ask him on it and they felt very comfortable that it was in the past and he’s a good candidate and would provide a tremendous service to a new police force so they decided to hire him, though I wasn’t involved in knowing the particulars or anything.”

“We’re going through a good process, we’ve got good people involved in the process,” McCallum said.

“This is a personnel thing and it needs to stay in the personnel realm, you know, this isn’t stuff that will go out and you blab away in the press about every single inspector that we do. I mean, it’s a personnel issue and personnel issues are confidential in every city that I’m aware of.”

“If they feel they will provide a good service for the community, then they hire them,” McCallum said.

“To be honest with you, why don’t you write about the good ones once in awhile?” he said. “Why don’t you write on all the rest of them, how spectacular qualifications they have, why don’t you balance it out a little bit once in a while?”

“One of the ones are Indo-Canadian, so why don’t you write about that?”

McCallum said in the case of Metcalfe, “as long as we did a very thorough investigation of it, and did an interview and he was forthright with what happened in that interview, the people doing the interview were satisfied that he was forthright and that they were also satisfied that he could bring a tremendous amount of experience and would be an extremely good person for our police service, then I fully support the hiring of him, I don’t have any conflict, and that’s where I stand on that particular one.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram  and follow Tom on Twitter

City of Surreyimpaired drivingsurrey rcmp

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fire crews battle a large wildfire north of Highway 1 east of the Yale Road West exit on Thursday, April 15, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Firefighters battle wildfire in Chilliwack near Hwy 1

Helicopter dropping water on large wildfire in Chilliwack near Yale Road West exit, north of highway

web
Fire breaks out inside Mission Walmart

Customers, staff evacuated as firefighters investigate

Japanese Canadian citizens being transferred into waiting trucks outside Hope Station House. NNMCC L2021-2-1-004. Photographs courtesy of the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre
Fight continues for historic Hope Station House

Ombudsman report and stop work order come alongside district’s move to remove heritage status

Lift equipment is driven away from a fire in an adjacent unit on Industrial Way in Chilliwack on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack firefighters deal with heavy smoke, extreme heat in challenging industrial fire

Crews successful in containing fire to 1 unit in industrial building, adjacent units suffer smoke damage

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Dr. Bonnie Henry – in a B.C. health order that went into effect April 12 – granted WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce workplace closures with COVID-19 spread. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
24 workplace closures being enforced in Fraser Health under new COVID-19 order

WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce closures if COVID-19 has spread to 3 or more employees

Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue were conducting training operations at Gold Creek Falls when a firefighter broke their leg. (Eileen Robinson photo - Special to The News)
Firefighter suffers broken leg during swift water rescue practice in Golden Ears park

A training exercise at Maple Ridge waterfall on Wedesday results in mishap

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Most Read