Three officers from the Houston RCMP detachment are to be recognized for their prowess in taking impaired drivers off the road.
The three, Constable Ryan Creasey, Constable James Fennema and Constable Tyler Noble, are to be officially named to Alexa’s Team, a province-wide police initiative which recognizes officers who reach specific impaired driving enforcement levels within a 12-month period.
The team name comes from Alexa Middelaer, a Delta, B.C. resident who was four years old when she was struck and killed by a drunk driver in 2008.
More than 2,500 police officers from around the province have been named to Alexa’s Team since the road safety initiative began. It marked its 10th anniversary last year.
Officers who issued at least 10 immediate roadside prohibitions reach team status while those who are involved in more than 21 impaired driving cases are named all stars.
“I’m very proud of their accomplishments,” says Houston RCMP detachment commander Sergeant Jason Burndred of the three constables.
“They’ve done exceptional work.”
Fennema is a recent transfer to Houston and brings with him his statistics from his previous posting while Creasey and Noble accumulated their numbers in Houston and area.
With 10 members at the Houston detachment, having three on Alexa’s Team is also significant, Burndred noted.
“This shows the results of targeting impaired drivers whether by alcohol or drugs,” he said. “Our objective is to be proactive.”
The Alexa’s Team initiative dovetails with the campaign began last year on the part of the District of Houston council and the detachment to emphasize road safety by concentrating on removing alcohol or narcotics impaired drivers from the road.
“In that, we’ve been successful,” said Burndred. “And I can say this will continue to be a priority.”
Road safety also falls in line with the detachment’s narcotics enforcement initiative.
“We’ll be targeting drug enforcement, going after the dealers,” Burndred added.
“I won’t say that Houston has a drug problem, but there are drugs here. Whenever you have people and money, you’ll have drugs.”
Officers undergo specific training to identify and remove impaired drivers of all kinds from the road, beginning with standardized field sobriety testing training.
“That’s the precursor to the next stage, drug recognition expert,” said Burndred.
“Constable Creasey has that designation. He’s very determined and his dedication to road safety is excellent.”
New to the Alexa’s Team team program is officers receiving double credit if the person they’re removing from the road is impaired by narcotics.
That follows last October’s legalization of recreational marijuana use.
An immediate roadside suspension is issued in the case of suspected alcohol-impaired driving when a driver’s breath sample comes up as a ‘warn’ or ‘fail’ on an approved screening device. It can also trigger an investigation into driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher.