More than 170 B.C. police officers who helped crack down on drunk driving last year are joining "Alexa's Team," a club created in the memory of a four-year-old girl who was tragically killed in a car accident.

Alexa Renée Middelaer died after being struck by a vehicle driven by a suspected drunk driver in May 2008. Her aunt, who was helping Alexa feed horses at the time of the crash, was also hit and seriously injured.

Her family was heartbroken. To keep the preschooler's memory alive, they teamed with the B.C. Automobile Association to create Alexa's Team.

To qualify, an officer must make 10 or more impaired driving arrests resulting in charges in a year. Last year, when the project began, 26 officers qualified.

This year, after Alexa's Team expanded to include all police forces in B.C., 174 officers qualified for the award, accounting for a combined total of 1,088 drunk driving charges and 3,335 24-hour driving prohibitions in 2009 – a 50 per cent increase over 2008.

Insp. Ted Emanuels of the RCMP Traffic Operations lauded the program's ability to inspire police.

"The response was phenomenal," Emanuels said. "Our objective is to achieve even greater numbers next year."

The 66 officers from Metro Vancouver were awarded on Tuesday morning at a celebration in Surrey attended by Alexa's mother Laurel Middelaer.

Each one received a certificate, a personalized letter from the Middelaer family and an Alexa's Team baseball cap.

"It's these officers that are making the difference," Middelaer said. "If we can motivate them and recognize the role that they're doing, that's a very small role but we're happy to play that."

Impaired drivers cost the provincial economy $1.6-billion per year, according to Tranport Canada, not including the cost of police, ambulance or courts.

A 56-year-old Delta woman was charged in Middelaer's death. She faces two counts each of dangerous driving and impaired driving causing death.

She is due to appear in Surrey Provincial Court on May 31.

Source: CTV News Vancouver


Last updated on: 2015-04-06 | Link to this post