Two city cops who have a knack for spotting impaired drivers have received top honours in their efforts to take them off the roads.
Const. Liam Shiels and Const. Stephen Hiscocks, members of the Red Deer RCMP Traffic Unit, recently received the gold Cpl. Cumming Award for charging more than 25 impaired drivers during a calendar year.
Last year Shiels charged 42 impaired drivers while Hiscocks charged 32.
“I have been to numerous crashes both here and at my previous posting in Peace River where alcohol has been a factor,” said Sheils, who has been on the force for seven years. “Fatal collisions are just terrible to attend in any manner and it’s even worse when it is impaired.”
Shiels, 29, said he has caught drivers at all hours of the day, every day of the week. He said impaired drivers are out there all the time.
Last year the traffic unit conducted about 250 impaired driving tests.
Hiscocks said he would like to see this number go down.
“Whether it is the tough times or not people seem to be drinking more than last year,” said Hiscocks, 45, who has been on the force for seven years. “They need to stop for their own safety and other people’s safety. We don’t want to go to those crashes where people are injured or have died. Even pedestrians. For me it is scary watching people up and down the street at night. Because I know these guys are out driving.”
Both officers said the recognition is personally rewarding but more importantly it also helps get the message out that police are trying to curb impaired driving.
“It makes me feel good that I actually could have saved them that night or someone else from either serious injuries or death, ” said Hiscocks.
The gold Cpl. Cumming Award is awarded to RCMP officers who charge between 15 and 24 impaired drivers during a calendar year.
The Cpl. Cumming Award program is a collaborative effort between RCMP “K” Division Traffic Services, Alberta Transportation, Office of Traffic Safety and MADD Canada. It supports police efforts to detect and apprehend impaired drivers on Alberta roadways.
The awards are named in honour of Cpl. Graeme Cumming, a member of the RCMP who was killed on duty by an impaired driver on Hwy 3 near Lethbridge in August 1998.