More than 80 RCMP officers from the South East District were honoured Tuesday for their part in reducing the number of alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths in the province.
These officers from Kelowna all the way to the East Kootenays are part of Alexa’s Team and have delivered on their promise to the family of Alexa Middelaer who, in 2010, challenged the RCMP, Ministry of Justice, and BC Attorney General, to reduce the number of deaths caused by alcohol impaired drivers by 35 per cent by the end of 2013.
Four-year-old Alexa Middelaer died in May, 2008 after a vehicle left a residential road in Delta, struck her and another pedestrian, along with a parked car before finally coming to rest on a power pole. The driver, a 56-year-old woman, was later convicted of impaired driving causing bodily harm and death.
At the end of 2013, the same year Alexa would have turned 10, the 313 members of Alexa’s Team managed to surpass 35 per cent and instead reached a 52 per cent decrease in alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths.
That translates into 190 lives saved.
Alexa’s mother Laurel Middelaer attended the honourary event in Kelowna at Quigley Elementary and expressed her amazement with the team.
“We are humbled by the results of reduced fatalities. Credit to our front line officers who are supported by their leaders and government to truly make our roads safer for all our communities.”
Drinking and driving fatalities have dropped significantly over the past three years with Alexa’s Team being responsible for almost 50 per cent of the impaired driving enforcement in BC in 2013.
Of the 313 member team, 83 are from the South East District and are responsible for processing over 2,700 impaired driving charges and penalties.
“The 313 members of Alexa’s Team, from the RCMP and municipal police departments across the province, have risen to the challenge and demonstrated that commitment to a noble cause can save lives and make the roads of BC safer for us all," says Insp. Ted Emanuels of the ECMP ‘E’ Division, OIC Enhanced Traffic Service Programs.
"Our objective remains to work with our road safety partners to eliminate impaired driving as a cause of fatal and serious injury collisions.”
Since its inception in 2008, Alexa’s Team members have processed more than 50,000 impaired driving charges and administrative penalties.
Alexa’s Team members have also been working to reduce the number of drug-impaired drivers on the road and since 2013 have removed 231 drivers impaired by drugs.