03/14/2013 12:34 EDT | Updated 05/13/2013 05:12 EDT

Top officials square off over police regionalization in small B.C. community

DELTA, - Supporters of a switch to regional policing in Metro Vancouver have asked the citizens of a small municipality to open their minds to improvement, even as their own officials defended their model as superior.

Proponents at a forum in Delta, B.C., say the no-call-too-small philosophy practised by officers in that city can be extended to a single, larger force.

Vancouver Police Deputy Chief Doug LePard says if a policing model for the region was to be created from scratch today, no one would design the patchwork system as it exists now.

But Delta Mayor Lois Jackson says she doesn't believe bigger is better or that regionalization will stop violence against women.

Missing Women Inquiry Commissioner Wally Oppal, however, reminded the group his massive undertaking found that one force that shared intelligence would have made all the difference in stopping serial killer Robert Pickton.

Officials from Delta convened the panel in light of recent, heightened debate following the release of Oppal's report in December and subsequent statements by Vancouver's mayor and police chief that they'd be in favour of a change.