Members of the Ladysmith RCMP and the South Vancouver Island Traffic Services out of Chemainus have been recognized alongside their colleagues for enforcement efforts in removing 235 impaired drivers off local roads last year.
The seven constables and one acting corporal were named to Alexa’s Team, a team formed a decade ago in honour of Alexa Middelaer, who was killed by an impaired driver in Delta, B.C.
In the past ten years, Alexa’s Team has grown from 26 members to 2,400 new and returning RCMP and municipal police officers from all corners of the province.
“Police experience firsthand the devastating emotional, mental and physical effects of impaired driving,” said RCMP Vancouver Island District A/OIC, Sgt. Michelle Mercer.
“Each Alexa Team member has dedicated themselves to removing these impaired drivers from our roadways. Congratulations to all Alexa’s Team members. Our communities are safer as a result of your continuing efforts.”
Locally, Alexa’s Team members from last year include: Cst. Austin Rowbotham South Van Island Traffic Services All-Star, Cst. Bryan Bare South Van Island Traffic Services, Cst. Grant Blanchette South Van Island Traffic Services, Cst. Michael Infanti South Van Island Traffic Services, Cst. Jason Sammoun Ladysmith RCMP All-Star, Cst. Mason Dirnback Ladysmith RCMP, Cst. Tyler Cargill Ladysmith RCMP and A/Cpl. Andrzej Obodzinski Island District Impaired Driving Coordinator.
Both Rowbotham and and Sammoun were specifically recognized as all-stars for each taking at least 34 criminally impaired drivers off the road.
Last year, the 55 Vancouver Island officers on Alexa’s Team pulled over 1,403 drivers for suspected impaired driving.
Of those, 682 either failed or refused a breathalyzer test resulting in a 90-day driving prohibition, 30-day vehicle impoundment, $500 fine and mandatory referral to a remedial program.
Another 378 motorists were issued warnings which range from a three day driving suspension up to 30 days, as well as escalating penalties for vehicle impoundment and fines.
Overall, more than 86,534 drivers affected by alcohol or drugs have been removed from the streets, roads and highways of this province by Alexa’s Team members since 2008.
Alexa’s Mother and Road Safety Advocate, Laurel Middelaer said as the family tries to find good in the wake of a tragic loss, the team of police is a “shining example of goodness, and of what can be accomplished when like-minded people band together to honour a young life.”
“The skill and hard work of these remarkable men and women has accomplished so much and will continue to do so in the future. Looking ahead, it is our sincere hope that this model of team work, dedication and genuine friendship will be used as British Columbia holds steadfast in its commitment to lead Canada in public safety on our roads. Alexa’s Team, you have exceeded our hopes and dreams of what can be and made our life better—thank you,” Middelaer said.