Red Deer City RCMP plan several major CheckStops as the festive season unfolds.
Acting traffic services Sgt. Slavica Doktor said on Tuesday that they don’t like to give people any kind of warning, but want drivers to know they will be out over the coming weeks, including this weekend.
“We do what we can with manpower and we have had some shortages in traffic (services),” said Doktor.
In light of a recent fatal collision involving an alleged drunk driver, the manager of one local taxi company has called for more CheckStops in Red Deer.
John Whittingham, manager of Alberta Gold Taxi, told the Advocate that he wanted to see more police CheckStops.
Doktor said part of what determines how many CheckStops take place is provincial funding, and this year the local traffic services unit received six CheckStop days out of the funding.
“That makes a huge difference because then you’re able to get a lot of people to come out, which makes it a successful CheckStop,” said Doktor.
“We do smaller ones with the members available, but the smaller numbers mean you get less drivers and one of the members out there usually ends up being the breath tech, so that takes two people off the road, so they are time consuming.”
Around the holiday season, Doktor said they try to do more CheckStops and will have more officers on the road to cope with the increase of partiers and revellers. Of the six CheckStops that local RCMP have for the year, three are set to take place between now and the end of the year, with the first one set for this weekend.
There will be 10 or more RCMP officers at these larger checkstops. Doktor said they will notify tow truck companies ahead to get them prepared.
There will also be smaller checkstops run by the local RCMP and more members will be on the road looking for impaired drivers during the holiday season.
“We know that as we get closer to Christmas people partake a little more so we spend more time patrolling and impaired driving becomes our focus,” said Doktor.
Impaired drivers are arrested through other means as well.
“A lot of our calls are from the public and we take those very seriously,” said Doktor. “If someone thinks a driver is drunk, then they probably are.”
Doktor said they have seen steady impaired driving numbers all year in Red Deer, with Friday nights consistently the worst.
“It’s a little disappointing,” said Doktor. “We’ve had a few alcohol-related fatals this year. Weekends are the worst, but we still pick up drunk drivers Monday nights.
“Fridays are our worst day, usually with our traffic guys alone it is two to three people a night.”
And every time they have to take an impaired suspect back to a detachment it takes officers off the road.