Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Richmond mayor denies 'friction' over hiring officers

That’s “news to me,” was Mayor Malcolm Brodie’s reaction to former Richmond police chief Ward Clapham’s comment to the Cullen Commission into money laundering that there was “friction” between the city and the RCMP about hiring officers in 2002 to mo
Malcolm Brodie
Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie.

That’s “news to me,” was Mayor Malcolm Brodie’s reaction to former Richmond police chief Ward Clapham’s comment to the Cullen Commission into money laundering that there was “friction” between the city and the RCMP about hiring officers in 2002 to monitor the casino.

Brodie pointed out RCMP often asks for more officers, and council weighs how many more they can budget. Furthermore, the RCMP contract allows them to hire more officers if they deem it’s necessary and bill the city for that.

Even with the amount budgeted for policing, the RCMP weren’t at their full complement through the early 2000s, Brodie added, mainly because of recruitment and retention issues.

In 2004, Clapham described the impact of opening of the River Rock Casino in an email as a monster that was growing, saying its influence would “soon control B.C. gaming.”

By 2005, Clapham’s investigators had intelligence on kidnappings, extortion, assaults and loan sharking by patrons at the River Rock.

Meanwhile, illegal casinos were sprouting up in the city, which was attracting organized criminals from outside the region, the commission heard last week.

In 2007, two “illegal gaming constables” were approved for funding for the Richmond RCMP to monitor the casino, and later another 10 officers as well as a crime analyst were added.

Brodie said he originally voted against gaming expansion, but he now believes it has had positive benefits for the city. For example, it helped pay for the Oval, he added.

“It did form a reasonable part of our corporate community, but of course we’ve seen the situation in the last four or five years has been a real challenge,” he said.

Brodie noted two provincial RCMP teams meant to investigate money laundering were shut down by then-Solicitor General Rich Coleman — the Joint Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team and the Integrated Proceeds of Crime Team.

“They were disbanded and I thought that was a terrible mistake,” Brodie said. “They were on the right track to be hyper vigilant about it and they dropped the ball.”

— With files from Glacier Media