The two communities share a border and a name, but it seems one Langley, B.C., is tired of paying for the same police force used by the other Langley, B.C.
On Monday, city council for the Township of Langley directed staff to explore the financial implications of setting up its own RCMP detachment, separate from the one currently shared with neighbouring Langley City, on the eastern edge of Metro Vancouver.
In a motion passed Dec. 5, Coun. Barb Martens asked staff to look into this option because "an RCMP detachment solely responsible to Township of Langley would ensure issues within and unique to the Township of Langley assume priority" for police rather than "those of another municipality."
Martens said her interest in establishing a separate detachment was prompted by the pending arrival of a SkyTrain in the community, along with the growing population of the township, both of which will require more dedicated RCMP time.
"Policing has become so much more complex," she said. "Police resources are needing a boost so the RCMP can do their job."
Langley RCMP could not immediately be reached for comment.
Watch | Why does B.C. have two Langleys?
Is it better to share the police or pay for your own?
The question of whether it is better to have shared police services between municipalities has been up for debate in many communities across B.C., including the two Langleys, for years.
In Surrey, new Mayor Brenda Locke is in the process of ending the transition from the RCMP to a municipal police force, believing the city will be better served by being part of a national policing system.
On Vancouver Island, the municipality of Esquimalt is interested in getting its own police force rather than sharing services with neighbouring Victoria, as has been the case since 2002.
In Langley, the bulk of police funding comes from the township, which, according to the latest census, has a population of 132,603 compared to 28,963 in Langley City.
The city is also much smaller geographically — just 1,018 hectares, or around 10 square kilometres — while the township is about 30 times that size.
On the other hand, the city is more urbanized, prompting more calls for services related to businesses, homelessness and drug use.
These differences have prompted councillors in both communities to claim they are getting the short end of the stick at various points in their relationship.
Langley City Mayor Nathan Pachal says, overall, the agreement to share policing costs is a benefit to both communities.
"We have valued the partnership, which has provided efficient and effective police services between the two communities over the years," he said in a written statement.
Pachal also pointed out that, at this point, the township is simply preparing a report on what the cost of a separate police service would be and has not made a decision to move forward with the plan.
"I think it's always healthy to study service delivery models," he said. "If the township does decide it makes sense for them to be their own separate detachment, we do have the financial resources and the capacity to move forward."