Movember at Metro Vancouver Transit Police

Led by Transit Police dog Strider, members of the Metro Vancouver Transit Police are growing facial hair this month for Movember, a charity that supports men’s health.

As a Deutsch Drahthaar, the first of his breed to be working for a Canadian police agency, Strider has an enviable mustache that has set a high bar for the rest of the Transit Police Movember Team. Strider’s breed was first developed in the 19th Century as a hunting dog, which is a trait that has been tailored to detect explosive odour. Strider joins the rest of the Transit Police dogs in keeping the transit system safe.

Movember funds projects that aim to prevent premature death among men due to reasons related to suicide, prostate cancer and testicular cancer. Since Transit Police has an operational priority of helping vulnerable people in crisis, Movember Foundation’s focus on tackling mental health challenges is something our department is proud to support.  

Support Strider and Cst. Daniel Campagne

Support D Watch Transit Police officers

Constable Gwen Ranquist helps vulnerable people use transit safely

Photo of Constable Gwen Ranquist

Helping vulnerable people in crisis is a Metro Vancouver Transit Police priority*, and Constable Gwen Ranquist plays a key role in helping us deliver on this commitment. As our department’s Client Services Officer, she works to ensure that transit passengers who are affected by mental health challenges receive the support they need to use transit safely.

“I have seen how police response to the mentally ill in our communities has changed from a criminal approach to a medical and solution based approach” says Cst. Ranquist, who has worked in policing since the early 1980s. “There are many people riding the transit system with mental illness that come in contact with our officers. My goal is to seek opportunities to provide assistance through the community and not the criminal justice system, unless it is necessary.”

Cst. Ranquist offers support and mentoring to Transit Police officers, to ensure they have the skills and resources to provide effective help. She manages files where there are repeated calls to police regarding the same individual, and creates solution-oriented policing strategies by working together with a variety of healthcare and community outreach partners to assist those people at their point of need.

“It is important that people who need help be connected with the support they require to live with stability and care within the community,” says Cst. Ranquist. “I would like to see that the Metro Vancouver Transit Police officers and Client Services bridge that gap between clients, health authorities and our jurisdictional partners.”

Follow Cst. Gwen Ranquist on Twitter

*Metro Vancouver Transit Police has four operational priorities: helping vulnerable people in crisis, reducing sexual offences, reducing frontline workplace assaults and building system resiliency. Read more about our priorities.

Note: this video was created before COVID-19

Meet the MVTP Community Engagement Team

Community policing is at the heart of everything we do at Metro Vancouver Transit Police (MVTP). Our approach is exemplified by the Community Engagement Team (CET). Each member of the team has a unique combination of skills and life experience that allow them to connect with the communities they serve. Last week, the CET welcomed two new members.


Constable Shiraaz Hanif joined the team as the Neighbourhood Police Officer (NPO) for East Vancouver and the North Shore. Cst. Hanif is no stranger to building relationships on behalf of our department, having spent years working to strengthen the relationship between MVTP and the Muslim Community (of which he is a member). He takes over the NPO role from Cst. Kirk Rattray, who moved into the role of Indigenous Liaison Officer. Follow Cst. Hanif on Twitter.


Constable Miles Teitelbaum joined the team as the NPO for New Westminster and South Burnaby. Cst. Teitelbaum previously worked on the CET in a temporary role that included participating in the Lower Lonsdale Project. Cst. Teitelbaum is taking over the NPO role from Cst. Justin Biggs. Follow Cst. Teitelbaum on Twitter and Instagram.

The two new members join seven other Transit Police officers that round out the team.


Sergeant Cheryl Simpkin heads the Community Engagement Team. She is influenced in her work by her Indigenous heritage and background in working with people who are affected by challenges with mental health or addiction. Follow Sgt. Simpkin on Twitter.


Constable Kirk Rattray is the MVTP Indigenous Liaison Officer. He draws on his Tahltan First Nation heritage to bring understanding between police and indigenous people in the region MVTP serves. In addition to building relationships with Indigenous communities, Cst. Rattray provides training for Transit Police officers and direction for our department on Indigenous issues. Follow Cst. Rattray on Twitter.


Constable Gwen Ranquist works in Client Services, providing expertise in issues related to mental health. Vulnerable people rely on the transit system to get them where they need to go and Cst. Ranquist is there to ensure they can do so safely. Follow Cst. Ranquist on Twitter.


Constable Julien Ponsioen is the NPO for downtown Vancouver. A former paramedic, he ensures that every Transit Police officer and civilian employee is trained on how to administer Naloxone. He also serves as the department’s liaison to the LGBTQ2S+ community of which he is a part. If you’re interested in learning more about the upcoming launch of our first Community Policing Centre, follow Cst. Ponsioen on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


Constable Bruce Shipley is the NPO for Richmond and Vancouver’s West Side. With an interest in the issues that affect vulnerable people, such as those who are homeless, Cst. Shipley is on the frontlines offering outreach and resources. Follow Cst. Shipley on Twitter.


Constable Darren Chua is the NPO for Surrey and Langley. Currently, however, he is on temporary assignment working as part of the Integrated Quarantine Act Response and Support Team (IQARAS), ensuring that the Province’s Covid regulations are being followed. The rest of the CET is looking after Cst. Chua’s area in his absence. Follow Cst. Chua on Twitter and Instagram.


Constable Nicole Dennis is the NPO responsible for municipalities that stretch from North Burnaby to the West Coast Express Station in Mission, including the Tri-Cities, Belcarra, Anmore, Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge. A certified Drug Recognition Expert, Cst. Dennis focuses on traffic and pedestrian safety around transit hubs. This year, Cst. Dennis joined with other first responders to raise money for the fight against childhood cancer as a Cops for Cancer: Tour de Coast participant. Follow Cst. Dennis on Twitter.

Unveiling the MVTP Indigenous Art Piece

We are proud to unveil the Metro Vancouver Transit Police (MVTP) original Indigenous Art Piece that was created for our department by First Nations artist Christine Mackenzie. The artwork was commissioned by MVTP Chief Dave Jones as a visual representation of our commitment to strengthening relationships with Indigenous communities. The original art piece will be used as the basis for a logo that will appear as part of the MVTP brand, appearing as part of the design on our vehicles.

Christine Mackenzie was chosen to create the art piece not only due to her obvious artistic talent, but also because of the work she does to help educate others about the history and contemporary issues that affect Indigenous and First Nations peoples. Her work with school districts, and organizations that focus on at-risk and vulnerable people, helps to facilitate dialogue and a movement toward reconciliation. She was the natural choice to bring the MVTP’s vision into art form.

Christine’s art piece is a representation of the Metro Vancouver Transit Police safely transporting and linking communities through fair and impartial policing practices. Our approach is based on education and respect along with cultural awareness and commitment to communication. The empty canoe represents our multicultural and inclusive invitation for all peoples. The canoe represents protection and was traditionally used to support communities, transport food and supplies, trade and barter, and to socialize and expand families.  The water below the canoe is a visual image capturing the honor of the eagle feather whilst moving through the water. The feather brings pride and respect to the waters for which we are all connected. The traditional value of the medicine wheel is supported by the number four. The four directions of health, the four stages of life, the four seasons, the four animals (two land and two air creatures) and the four stages of mind. There are four feathers represented here, a Split U, eagle wings, and the feather splashes against the canoe. The Transit police support people at all stages of life from babies to children, adults to elders. We support people from all cultures and in all four seasons. The north West Coast line art design is depicted in the wonderful use of the Split U, Split S and T shapes. The center piece of the two hands open and gifting one feather is how the Transit Police are committed to connecting communities through offering of support and protection. It acknowledges that we work in the community with respect and appreciation. The traditional police stripe is a focus of pride in working within 22 communities and working together with cultural sensitivity and awareness.  We are committed to being open and welcoming in our engagement and working together with all Nations and cultures with mutual respect.  

In recent years, MVTP has made an ongoing effort to strengthen relationships between Indigenous communities and police. We are guided by our Strengthening Support for Indigenous Peoples report, which reviewed other significant reports concerning the relationship between police and Indigenous peoples in Canada, including the Thunder Bay Police Services Board Investigation final report, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Final Report and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. It put forward a number of recommended actions for Transit Police. The Indigenous artwork commissioned is one action undertaken since the report was released to further strengthen the relationship between Transit Police and Indigenous peoples who live in the region we serve. Earlier this year, we were pleased to welcome Constable Kirk Rattray into the position of Indigenous Liaison Officer.

Our Indigenous Art Piece unveiling and awakening event can be seen on Facebook

Top 5 transit safety tips for students

While many middle school, secondary school and post secondary schools have moved to provide classes online this year, many students will still need to take transit to school for at least a portion of their learning. If you’re heading off to school on transit by yourself for the first time– or you have a child who is – especially, during a pandemic, it can be a bit overwhelming. We hope these safety tips help you feel more confident in your journey.

  1. Know how to call for help – save our contact numbers in your mobile phone: 604.515.8300 for calls, and 87.77.77 for texts. Learn about security features on the transit system. Look for transit staff during your journey. Transit Police, SkyTrain Attendants and Canada Line Attendants are often found near ticket machines or on platforms.
  2. Be confident about where you’re going – plan your route. Leave early so you’re not rushed. Have another route ready as a backup in case there’s a delay on your primary route. Sign up for Transit Alerts.
  3. Keep your personal belongings safe – take your backpack off and put it at your feet. Keep any valuables securely hidden in your bag. Be careful with your phone and other devices, especially when standing near transit vehicle doors.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings –stay in well-lit areas. Keep one earbud out of your ear so you can hear what’s going on. If you see someone acting in a way that makes you uncomfortable, quietly move away – go to another part of the platform, sit closer to the bus driver, switch SkyTrain cars at the next station, etc. Share your concern with staff.
  5. Report problems – whether someone has touched you inappropriately, you see another person being harassed, you’re worried about the well-being of someone slumped over in a seat, or there’s something else causing you concern, please let us know. Text 87.77.77 and someone will respond right away.

If you’re able to, wear your face mask at all times while onboard transit vehicles. Consider leaving your mask on while you’re waiting at bus stops, or while moving through transit stations. If someone who is not wearing a mask makes you uncomfortable, try your best to keep physical distance from them. Remember that some people have a legitimate need for an exemption from the mandatory mask policy. Read more about the policy here.

Transit is a great way to get to school and back. We hope you enjoy your trip.

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Masks required on transit

Update: November 26, 2020

On November 19, 2020, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General mandated that facial coverings be worn in all indoor public places.

The Ministerial Order exempts persons from wearing masks in some circumstances. The full order can be found here: https://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/mo/mo/m0425_2020

Transit Police will enforce the Ministerial Order and can issue fines of $230, subject to the exemptions set out in the provincial order.

We ask customers not to attempt to enforce the Ministerial Order themselves but rather to contact either TransLink Customer Information or Transit Police. Your report will help us determine where to deploy resources as Transit Police enforces the Provincial Order.


Posted on August 21, 2020

Starting on Monday, August 24, everyone on board a transit vehicle will be required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering.

Metro Vancouver Transit Police supports TransLink’s current approach focused on education and not enforcement. Enforcement action may be considered at a later date once the impact of the new mandatory mask rule is seen.

Details of the new policy can be seen here: https://new.translink.ca/rider-guide/coronavirus-precautions

Questions or comments regarding the policy can be directed here: https://new.translink.ca/feedback

High school students take the lead on new MVTP anti sex assault campaign

A little over a year ago, a group of students at Vancouver’s Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School compared their individual experiences on transit and realized that sexual assault on transit was a very real problem for young people.

“Myself and a few of my peers came to this realization when discussing our own personal experiences with assault on transit, as we noticed that our experiences overlapped with one another,” explains one of the students, Erika Hunter. “Personally, I wasn’t aware of this issue until I experienced it myself, so to hear that many of my peers had been impacted as well hit me hard.”

The students decided to take action. They reached out Metro Vancouver Transit Police in an effort to find ways to educate their peers on what they can do if they experience or witness a sexual offence on transit. Transit Police and TransLink seized on the opportunity to have the students take the lead on developing the fourth phase of Transit Police’s ongoing campaign to combat sexual offences on transit.

On Tuesday, August 4, the results of the collaboration were launched to the media and on social media in the form of a poster and social media campaign. The campaign utilizes graphics created by grade 12 student Maureen Luo. Her artwork will be seen on transit vehicles, in transit stations, and on social media. Her illustrations depict scenes of sexual assault that can sometimes be ignored by those who experience or witness it, such as unwanted touching on the thigh or buttocks. In each of the three scenarios depicted in the campaign ads, it is the witness who notices the behaviour and takes action.

 “Maureen’s designs particularly stood out to us, as she was able to convey the heavy topic without being too vulgar with the graphics, making it appropriate for all audiences,” says fellow student Sakura Rashidi. “Her simplistic art style made it universal, and easy to understand. She was also very considerate about diversity with the posters, and included representation for people of all ages, abilities, and cultural backgrounds.”

Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School students (L-R) Maureen Luo, Sakura Rashidi, Erika Hunter and Rachel Leong

The students also took the opportunity in March 2020 to schedule a school assembly at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary and educate their peers about what sexual offending on transit looked like and what to do in these situations. While there were plans to expand upon this form of direct outreach at additional schools, these plans were cancelled due to the impact of COVID-19.

Reducing sexual offences on transit has been a Transit Police priority since 2012. Anyone who experiences or witnesses a sexual offence is asked to contact Transit Police by phone at 604.515.8300 or by text at 87.77.77 (always call 911 in an emergency). We promise that each report will be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.

Look for the campaign posters during your next transit journey, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Introducing Cst. Kirk Rattray, MVTP Indigenous Liaison Officer

This month, Metro Vancouver Transit Police was proud to welcome Constable Kirk Rattray into the newly created role of Indigenous Liaison Officer. Cst. Rattray moved into the role after serving four years as the Neighbourhood Police Officer for East Vancouver and the North Shore, and over a year in patrol prior to that.

Creating the position of Indigenous Liaison Officer has been a priority for Metro Vancouver Transit Police for a number of years. We are indebted to the Indigenous groups who offered their wisdom to us, and to reports such as the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Final Report and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, which have been invaluable sources of guidance for our department. It is our hope that the position will bring collaboration and understanding that will help guide our department toward better serving the Indigenous community.

Cst. Rattray is a natural fit for this pivotal role. He has a long history of drawing on his Tahltan First Nation heritage to build trust and partnerships between Indigenous communities and police. Prior to joining Transit Police in late 2014, Cst. Rattray served with the Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police Service for nearly four years, and the Winnipeg Police Service for 16 years before that.

While serving with Transit Police, Cst. Rattray has worked closely with the Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre, where he serves as a board director, and the VPD Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigenous Relations Section. He takes part in the annual Pulling Together Canoe Journey, educates police recruits on Indigenous issues at the Justice Institute of BC, and provides cultural awareness training for our department.

Thanks to Cst. Rattray’s tireless work, plans are in the works to launch the Blue Eagle Community Youth Cadet project at Metro Vancouver Transit Police in partnership with the VPD and the Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Center. Under his leadership, the program will serve to empower Indigenous youth aged 13-15 by offering mentorship, building leadership skills, and supporting them as they discover their potential. . Cst. Rattray has experience in this area, having created a youth cadet program while working with Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police.

“I am honoured to represent the Metro Vancouver Transit Police as the First Indigenous Liaison Officer. I look forward to, not only improving current relationships that have been built in the Indigenous community in Vancouver, but I also look forward to developing new partnerships in the diverse Indigenous communities of the Metro Vancouver region.” – Cst. Kirk Rattray

“I have known Kirk since he was working with Indigenous peoples during the 2010 Olympics. I can honestly say he is a man of great and gentle character who is humble and honest, and I am proud to call him a dear friend. I am so honored and proud to announce Kirk as the first full time Indigenous Liaison officer for the Metro Vancouver Transit Police.” – Sgt. Cheryl Simpkin, Community Engagement Team

To welcome Constable Rattray into his new role, Transit Police hosted a traditional smudging and cleansing ceremony. Our Senior Management Team was proud to participate with honoured guests that included Chief Rhonda Larrabee of the Qayqayt First Nation who welcomed us to her ancestral land, and Norm Leech of the Stl’al’imc First Nation who performed the ceremony.

Statement regarding the death of George Floyd from Chief Officer Dave Jones and the Metro Vancouver Transit Police Board

Metro Vancouver Transit Police is deeply saddened by the death of George Floyd and have been listening closely to the grief and dialogue prompted by the disturbing circumstances that led to his death. We believe that the officers involved must be held accountable, knowing that no police agency would tolerate such racism in their ranks.

Sadly, Canada is not immune to racism; our history has too many examples of racist policies that have entrenched systemic inequality throughout our society. We know that racism continues to have major and detrimental impacts on the community we serve. As a police agency, we must continue to educate ourselves on issues of systemic racism in order to ensure we meet our duty to protect all the people of our community, and do so with empathy, compassion and a constant willingness to listen to calls for change.

As the police agency for the transit system in Metro Vancouver, we serve a community that includes many members who are vulnerable. We are here to serve everyone to the best of our ability and that is not a responsibility we take lightly. Our officers’ training includes ensuring they understand bias, support diversity and can employ de-escalation techniques where necessary.  We will continue to improve our training, and adjust our policies and practices to ensure we remain responsive to the community we serve. 

We have made many adjustments since our inception in 2005, from moving to a community-based deployment model and creating community engagement teams to launching a texting service that allows passengers to discreetly report if they feel unsafe and increasing our outreach to vulnerable people.  Transit Police also receives regular feedback and insights through our Chief’s Community Council. This group acts in an advisory capacity to Transit Police’s Executive Team in order to promote dialogue and collaboration. It consists of representatives from a broad cross section of the transit community. 

We recognize we need to do more. Beyond being police officers and support staff, our employees are members of our shared community. We are mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers who want the community we live in to be free from racism and hate, and built on equity and fairness. We pledge to continue to work with our community partners, listen closely to the dialogue occurring and educate our own officers and staff on how to better serve you. Your letters, your online messages, your texts and your voices are being heard. If you have feedback, we are listening.

MVTP Community Policing approach temporarily expands to Philippines

Constable Clint Hervias did not expect to be travelling to the Philippines in early 2020. And he certainly didn’t expect to get stranded there with no way to return to Canada.

“I left Canada on February 12 after getting news that my dad was sick and intubated in the ICU, in Manila,” says Cst. Hervias. “After he died, I flew with his body to his hometown of Culasi on Panay Island for the burial. He was laid to rest on March 16 and the following day, the entire province got locked down. All flights were grounded and seaports got shut down, and there was no way for me to get back to Manila for an international flight home.”

Cst. Hervias is just one of many Canadians stranded overseas, and unable to return home. Making the best of the situation, Cst. Hervias is taking the community-focused approach of his work as a Metro Vancouver Transit Police officer and using it to help the vulnerable people in his current community.

“The quarantine here is really hurting the people,” he explains. “People here live day to day on an average salary of about $10 per day. A missed day of work means there’s no food on the table. But there’s a bond of community, and that’s what got the conversation started among those of us who were in a position to help.”

Teaming up with other community members, creating relationships that have inspired food donations and with the assistance of the Philippine National Police, Cst. Hervias is helping to lead outreach efforts to remote communities around Culasi.

“We’ve headed out to the rural, mountainous region of the province to check in with the more neglected barangays [villages],” says Cst. Hervias “We were also able to visit nearby Mararison Island to provide some significant relief and support for the community there, which is very isolated and hard hit.”

Though he is looking forward to the day that he can return home, Cst. Hervias is grateful for his recent experiences. “You know, growing up in Africa and in Canada, I missed being surrounded by my family and my cultural heritage. Being here and getting to know my community inspires me.”