Local officers honoured

Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP and North Okanagan Traffic Services officers have been recognized for outstanding work.

Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP and North Okanagan Traffic Services officers have been recognized for outstanding work.

A total of 13 officers were named members of Alexa’s Team, a program that recognizes RCMP and municipal police officers in the B.C. who make an extraordinary contribution to reducing the number of impaired drivers on the roads and highways of the province.

In Kelowna on Tuesday, the 13 local officers were part of 83 officers across the Southeast District that were recognized for their efforts in stopping those individuals who still continue to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Recognized were Vernon-North Okanagan officers Const. Eric Beaulieu, Const. Mike Baylin, Const. Tyler Jackson, Const. Jonathan Klassen, Cpl.  Joe Leeson, Const. Mark Hiller, Const. Dave Hoekstra, Const. Sam Audley, Const. Gerrod Strebchuk, Const. Chad Gravelle and Cpl. Daryl Dalby, along with North Okanagan Traffic Services officers Const. Steven Schenkeveld and Const. Tibor Balbauf.

“All together, these officers dealt with 186 impaired drivers in our area for both Criminal Code and 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition offences,” said Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk.

“They also took another 177 drivers off the roads for a period of either 24 hours to three days for driving with the level that is just under being impaired by alcohol or a drug.”

This is part of the ongoing effort to keep our roads safe for everyone in the North Okanagan and across the province.

The members of Alexa’s Team have delivered on their promise to the family of Alexa Middelaer, and other families that have lost loved ones to drinking driving, by significantly reducing the number of alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths in the province.

The team is named in memory of Alexa Middelaer, a four-year-old Lower Mainland girl killed by an impaired driver in 2007.

In 2010, the Middelaer family challenged the RCMP, municipal police officers, and the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General of B.C. to reduce the number of deaths caused by alcohol impaired driving by 35 per cent by the end of 2013, the year Alexa would have turned 10-years old.

The 52 per cent decrease in alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths announced by the Ministry of Justice in February represents 190 lives saved.

Drinking and driving fatalities have dropped significantly over the past three years and Alexa’s Team members were responsible for almost 50 per cent of the impaired driving enforcement in B.C. in 2013.