A well-known New Westminster resident is the latest addition to the city’s newly expanded police board.
Ruby Campbell is a longtime volunteer and the City of New Westminster’s former manager of intergovernmental and community partnerships.
“I am honoured to serve on the police board,” she said in an email to the Record. “I trust the New West police board is committed to learning and improving, and I am up for the challenge.”
After being named to the police board at the end of November, Chief Const. Dave Jansen swore Campbell in at the beginning of December. Her first meeting will be in January.
“Like many of us, I have been listening to people calling on police reform and fully support the need for a different approach,” she said. “So, when the Province’s Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act Committee conducted a public survey, I decided to submit my own thoughts.”
Campbell said that completing that survey made her think about the city’s strong not-for-profit sector and the work organizations are doing to assist with the mental health crisis, poverty reduction and unhoused population.
“I see the value of not-for-profits from serving on the board of Fraserside Community Services, as well as from my years of previously working at the City of New Westminster, where I worked closely with community organizations,” she said. “I just kept thinking how important it is to ensure our city’s not for profit organizations, businesses and community are engaged to help inform the challenge before us.”
Further expansion planned
The police board’s role is to oversee and provide direction to the New Westminster Police Department. It also submits the NWPD’s budget to city council for its consideration.
In addition to Mayor Jonathan Cote, who chairs the police board, other current members include Heather Boersma, Karim Hachlaf, Shirley Heafey and Sasha Ramnarine. Campbell, like Boersma, Hachlaf and Ramnarine, is a provincial appointee; Heafey is a city appointee to the police board.
According to Jansen, another member was initially named to the police board through an order in council from the province, but he took a job in policing that him ineligible, so he had to resign. With Campbell’s appointment, he said the board has expanded to five members and the mayor, but another addition could be coming.
“Most boards have six and a mayor. We are at five and a mayor now,” he said. “Our board has asked government to expand to six and the mayor.”
In February, the police board was short on members because one person had completed their term in November 2020 and another member was on a leave of absence.
Boersma and Heafey were subsequently sworn in as members of the police board, but the board supported advocating to the province for a larger police board.
Because of a shortage of members, the New Westminster police board was unable to name a director or an alternate to the British Columbia Association of Police Boards for 2021/22.
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