The 2015 Alexa’s Team members from B.C.’s southeast district

The 2015 Alexa’s Team members from B.C.’s southeast district

Cops team up for Alexa

Officers reduce the number of drivers affected by alcohol or drugs on B.C.’s roads and highways.

Eight police officers from the Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP detachment are among 246 officers from around the province named to the 2015 Alexa’s Team.

Alexa’s Team is a program sponsored by MADD Canada, ICBC and the RCMP that recognizes police officers in B.C. who make an extraordinary contribution to reducing the number of drivers affected by alcohol or drugs on B.C.’s roads and highways.

The team is named for Alexa Middelaer, a Delta toddler who was killed by an alcohol impaired driver in 2008.

Named to the team from the Vernon-North Okanagan detachment are Const. Gary McLaughlin and Const. Steven Schenkeveld from North Okanagan Traffic Services; Const. Tibor Baldauf and Const. Phil Dobernigg of the Integrated Road Safety Unit; and Constables Ryan Fletcher, Brian Heideman, Tyler Jackson and Kanwalprit Sidhu.

McLaughlin, Schenkenveld and Heideman were named all-star members, which are the top impaired impaired driving investigators in the province.

Each has taken at least 34 criminally impaired drivers off the road in 2015.

Officers are personally thanked by Alexa’s family, road safety organizations and community leaders for their tireless work fighting impaired driving.

“As a family, it is our privilege to recognize the members of Alexa’s Team whom have gone above and beyond to ensure the safety of our communities,” said Laurel Middelaer, Alexa’s mother and road safety advocate.

“It is good and right to acknowledge and thank those who individually and collectively make an enormous difference, each and every day. In the wake of the tragic loss of our daughter, Alexa, this is one event that allows our family to find some needed good. These members are heroes and deserve our appreciation.”.

The awards ceremonies also provide an opportunity to recognize the significant decrease in B.C.’s rate of alcohol-related crash deaths since the introduction of the province’s Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program in 2010.

The average reduction from October 2010 to the end of September 2014 was 52 per cent, representing an estimated 238 lives saved.

Since 2008, Alexa’s Team members have processed more than 71,300 impaired driving sanctions for alcohol- and drug-related driving offences.

The total number of Alexa’s Team members has grown from 26 to 1,885, and includes officers from all regions of the province.

“We applaud every police officer on Alexa’s Team for their commitment to getting impaired drivers off our roads,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety,