It wasn't quite at the speed of an emergency response team (ERT), but it didn't take long for the Vancouver Police Department to opt out of an agreement to provide the service to Port Moody.
Just weeks after the Port Moody Police Department signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with its policing cousins in Vancouver to join that force's emergency response team, it appears the relationship is over.
Port Moody police acting chief Const. Chris Rattenbury said the department has been notified by the VPD that the MOU will expire at the end of June. He indicated the move by the VPD was a business decision.
"The sticking point was the financial part of it, so basically all they're [VPD] doing is assisting us for six months until we get another option done here," Rattenbury told The NOW. "I think from a Vancouver standpoint, it probably wasn't the best business deal for them and it's a fair comment from them."
Rattenbury said the department is now looking at other possible teams to join before the end of the contract, which could include joining a Lower Mainland RCMP ERT.
He suggested it would make more sense for the department to integrate rather than create its own team.
Port Moody had belonged to the Municipal Integrated Emergency Response Team that included Abbotsford, Delta and New Westminster, but the unit disbanded at the end of 2012. Under the agreement with the VPD, Port Moody police embed one of their own members in the team, and pay an annual fee.
Rattenbury wouldn't disclose the annual cost to be a part of the team.
Last year, Port Moody police signed on to an integrated homicide team with the VPD. Under the agreement, the city pays $150,000 annually and assigns an officer to the team.
It turned out to be a good deal for Port Moody taxpayers as the price tag for three gang-related murder investigations in 2012 is expected to top the $1-million mark.
For its part, the VPD sent this response via e-mail when asked about the status of the ERT agreement, which appears to differ from Port Moody's response: "The VPD and Port Moody Police Department are currently working on an agreement in relation to ERT services. Both departments are looking at what arrangements would best meet the needs of their communities. As negotiations are ongoing and that report has yet to be finalized there is nothing to report at this time."
Mayor Mike Clay said he was unaware the ERT agreement had been terminated, but knew Vancouver had concerns and was evaluating its integrated relationships.
"This is budget time for the municipalities," Clay said.
"I know the Vancouver [police department] is under a lot of pressure from the City of Vancouver for budget containment."
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