Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich has come out in favour of some form of regional police force for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
Delta Mayor Lois Jackson, who objects to the proposal, held a community forum last Wednesday to prompt more discussion around the issue with other civic leaders and police forces.
Rich, who attended the discussion, said cost efficiencies and a better way of policing need to be examined.
"Policing, like many government agencies, needs to take a good hard look at itself," said Rich.
"The whole discussion of cost effectiveness of policing is something we need to pay attention to while still providing excellent service to the public."
The call to amalgamate law enforcement within the Lower Mainland surfaces regularly.
However, the idea has gained serious momentum with Missing Women Inquiry Commissioner Wally Oppal's recent conclusion that a regional force would have limited the number of victims who fell prey to killer Robert Pickton.
Vancouver's Mayor Gregor Robertson and the Vancouver Police Department have also openly backed the idea.
Oppal concluded a larger police force would facilitate communication between forces in different communities and eliminate the silo effect that occurs with multiple agencies, noted Rich.
"My view is we need to take the long view and begin setting up policing for long-term success, and that means policing in a region with one brain operating a force's response."
Ultimately, the decision lies with politicians at both the municipal and provincial level, noted Rich.
"Local governments have shown no enthusiasm for the idea of a regional force in my three decades of policing and I don't know why that would change," he said, adding mayors are reluctant to fund resources they don't have any say over.
Jackson is arguing a local force can better practise the 'no-call-is-too-small' policing philosophy while Surrey Mayor Diane Watts has expressed concern that Vancouver might monopolize resources of any regional entity.
Rich didn't assume Abbotsford would be included or best served by a Metro Vancouver force.
"I would be inclined towards a Fraser Valley regional force. We are a distinct community from Metro Vancouver."
Pointing to New York's crime reduction successes, Rich noted a large agency could still effectively respond to smaller and localized police concerns.
Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman agreed it was worthwhile to at least explore the idea of a regional police force.
"I think we should look at it in a logical manner and see what serves the people best. There's no such thing as a bad question," said Banman.
Best practice would be to determine what gave citizens the best protection for the least amount of money, he said.
Taxpayers might gain from a police force that can take advantage of economies of scale.
"Lets have the facts speak for themselves," Banman added.
"When people phone 911, I don't think they care where police are located when [officers] are there when they need them."