Joint statement from Lower Mainland police Chiefs and Commanders

Police in British Columbia share the concerns that the public have as a result of recent gang-related violence in communities across the Lower Mainland.

 
Senior police leaders in British Columbia met yesterday with Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth to discuss the current gang landscape and share their collective and unified strategies.

 
Led by the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia (CFSEU-BC), in partnership and collaboration with the RCMP and all municipal police agencies, there is an intelligence-led enforcement effort underway. This includes enhanced overt and covert operations, proactive enforcement targeting those who pose the highest risk to public safety, increased focus on personally interacting with those involved in gangs, and ensuring that those who engage in, assist, or support gang-related violence are held accountable.

 
The partnerships and level of integration that police in the region have is unprecedented. From the sharing of real-time intelligence so officers of all jurisdictions are informed of the most up-to-date information, to specialized teams working together with officers from neighbouring agencies because gang members do not recognize municipal boundaries. Police are working together and are unified in their resolve to end gang violence.


The disregard for the safety of the public and the police that gang members continually show, highlighted by recent events, is unacceptable and we are doing everything we can to hold those responsible accountable. 

 
Your safety is our number one priority and we will not waver in our relentless pursuit to prevent, disrupt, suppress, and investigate those who choose to involve themselves in gang and organized crime activities.

 
The public’s role in how successful we are in this fight cannot be understated. Your willingness to call police when you see something suspicious, or have information, could be critical in helping prevent someone from getting hurt or assist us in collecting crucial pieces of evidence. We want your help.

Lastly, to the gang members, we know many of you are afraid, unsure who to trust, and fearful that you might be targeted next. You have an opportunity to get out. Contact police before it is too late for you and those who love you.

 
Chief Constable Mike Serr – Abbotsford Police Department
Assistant Commissioner Manny Mann – Officer in Charge of CFSEU-BC and Chief Officer of the Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia
Chief Constable Neil Dubord – Delta Police Department
Chief Officer Dave Jones – Metro Vancouver Transit Police
Chief Constable Dave Jansen – New Westminster Police Department
Chief Constable Dave Fleugel – Port Moody Police Department
Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan – Commanding Officer for BC RCMP
Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald – Officer in Charge of the RCMP’s Federal, Investigative Services and Organized Crime for BC
Assistant Commissioner Eric Stubbs – BC RCMP Criminal Operations Officer – Core Policing 
Assistant Commissioner Maureen Levy – Lower Mainland District RCMP Commander
Chief Constable Adam Palmer – Vancouver Police Department
Chief Constable John Lo – West Vancouver Police Department

Constable Bruce Shipley ensures that vulnerable people on transit stay safe

Helping vulnerable people in crisis is a Metro Vancouver Transit Police priority*, and Constable Bruce Shipley plays a key role in helping us deliver on this commitment. In his role as Homeless Outreach Officer, Cst. Shipley works to ensure that people who are homeless remain safe while they’re on transit.

“Experiencing homelessness is not a crime and it’s not a choice, so my goal in all interactions is to make sure that people on transit who find themselves in this situation feel supported,” says Cst. Shipley. “They are human and so are those of us who wear the Transit Police uniform. There is a real need and desire to connect and help. I want my actions to show that just because someone may be afflicted by homelessness, drug addiction, mental health challenges, or be vulnerable in another way, Transit Police officers are here to help, not judge.”

Cst. Shipley works tirelessly to gather essentials like socks, blankets and food through donations from community partners and the generosity of his colleagues at Transit Police. He ensures that patrol officers have these essential resources in their vehicles, so they can distribute them to people in need. Officers can sometimes connect those in need with social service or healthcare resources, but often the process of getting someone meaningful support requires a deeper amount of effort. That’s where Cst. Shipley steps in with his arsenal of community connections, his reputation within the homeless community, and his unwavering compassion.

“At Transit Police we take a Community Policing approach to the job,” says Cst. Shipley. “Which means that we are a part of the community we serve, and our role is to keep everyone safe. Sometimes that means we focus on enforcement, but other times it’s just a matter of investing time in people and building the connections and trust that ensures everyone feels looked after.”     

“Nobody should ever feel that they have been discarded by society,” he says. “Everyone deserves to live with dignity, and it’s rewarding when I’m able to play a role in that. I recently received a direct message on Twitter from someone whom I had helped provide with shelter and detox services, who said that I had saved his life. That was pretty cool.”   

Follow Cst. Bruce Shipley 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.

Community Policing Centre opens at Waterfront

On Tuesday, February 2, Metro Vancouver Transit Police will open its first Community Policing Centre (CPC), at Waterfront Station. Staffed by volunteers, the CPC will work in partnership with Transit Police, Vancouver Police, and TransLink frontline staff to help ensure safety in and around Waterfront Station, and the surrounding neighbourhood. The CPC will be based in the current Transit Police office at Waterfront Station, located just across from the A&W.

Volunteers will be working Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, from noon until 5pm. Eventually, once COVID restrictions are lifted, the plan is for the CPC office to be open to the public during these times. Until then, volunteers will focus on assisting the public through proactive patrols and joint projects with policing and community partners.

The first Metro Vancouver Transit Police CPC was only made possible due to the generous contributions from community sponsors. DS Tactical, the premier police clothing and equipment supplier, is providing uniforms for the volunteers. The volunteers’ branded clothing will make them easily identifiable while keeping them protected from the elements thanks to DS Tactical. Meanwhile, EasyPark, known for providing safe, clean, friendly, convenient and affordable parking to the Greater Vancouver community, has provided tablets for the volunteers to use during their patrols. Tablets will allow volunteers to quickly retrieve information as they assist the public and vulnerable people in our community thanks to EasyPark. In addition, our valued partners at ICBC have been generous in their support, and we look forward to many collaborations with them on various safety campaigns.

Learn more: https://www.waterfrontcpc.com/

Follow the WCPC on Twitter or Instagram

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.

Follow Transit Police on Twitter

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Visit Transit Police on Facebook

Masks mandatory on transit

Update: September 2, 2021

Anyone who fails to wear a mask while using public transit may be subject to a $115 fine.


Update: August 24, 2021

As a result of the latest mandate from the Provincial Government reinstating mask-use in all indoor public places, customers must wear masks while using public transit beginning Wednesday, August 25. This includes while boarding or waiting for transit at any indoor or sheltered stations and stops.


Update: July 1, 2021

As of July 1, masks are no longer mandatory on Metro Vancouver’s public transit system, but remain recommended. This change is due to Step 3 of BC’s Restart Plan, which removes the requirement for masks in indoor settings across the province. Transit users are encouraged to continue wearing masks on they system as a precautionary measure to protect themselves, fellow passengers, and TransLink employees.

As the Ministerial Order requiring face coverings on transit is no longer in effect, Transit Police is no longer enforcing masks 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.