Lacombe Police Chief Steve Murray, Mark Sproule, Jim Maloney, Carol Cornwell, Const. Travis Marcott, Deputy Mayor Peter Bouwsema, Darren Dewald and Insp. Lorne Blumhagen launch Lacombe’s campaign last Thursday

Trying to rid streets and highways of drunk drivers, Lacombe launched its Report Impaired Drivers (RID) campaign last Thursday morning.

The city’s traffic safety committee has partnered with Lacombe Police Service and the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to urge community members to play a critical role in supporting police efforts to make roadways safe.

Representatives from each of those organizations gathered Thursday for a kickoff news conference on Lacombe’s main thoroughfare, 50 Avenue, and alongside a prominent sign calling people who witness possible impaired drivers to contact police.

“This has the potential to make such a significant impact on community safety ... we want people to take the time, pull over somewhere safe and call 911,” said Lacombe Police Chief Steve Murray.

“The other message is that this is a 911 call. This is a crime in progress. This is a real threat to public safety, so do your part, take the time, make the call.

“We want people to be alert. In this instance, it’s for impaired drivers. But if somebody witnesses a vehicle driving erratically, who knows, it could be a medical issue, it could be driver fatigue, it could be a distracted driver, but let’s get that driver stopped and let’s find out what’s going on.”

Mark Sproule, who chairs the city’s traffic safety committee, said that while police do excellent work in protecting Lacombe, they need the support of residents to tackle impaired driving.

“We commend all the work that they’re doing, but they can’t be everywhere at once,” he said. “So we want the community, when they see unsafe vehicles, to call in and give them a heads-up, ‘Hey, there’s an unsafe vehicle,’ and then they can go and do the investigation.

“There’s numerous people here in the community that have been personally affected by impaired driving, and that’s why we’ve partnered with other community organizations, MADD Canada, the Lacombe chapter, and the Lacombe police, because we all want to be working together, engaging the community and getting these unsafe drivers off the roadway.”

Chief Murray believes that mission can be accomplished much more effectively with community participation.

“This (campaign) ties right into our community partnership motto, because in order for Lacombe to be the safest community that it can be — and the safe community that we all want to be — if we’re going to rely on 15 sets of eyes to do all the work, we’re not going to be anywhere near as effective as 13,000 sets of eyes,” he said. “So if the community says, ‘This is my community, I care, and when I see something that doesn’t look right, I’m going to do my part.’

“Even the motto of this campaign (is telling), ‘It’s your community, it’s your call.’ Let us know. Yes, we’re the paid professionals that can come and take care of the problem, but you are every bit a part of keeping Lacombe safe. And it’s their participation that’s going to alert us to whether it’s suspicious activity, possible impaired drivers — anything that’s going to impact community safety.

“And we rely so heavily on those calls and that partnership.”

Lacombe’s traffic safety committee was formed late in 2013 to take action to make streets in the city safer, said Sproule, a peace officer with Lacombe County.

He cited statistics that show an alarming number of drunk-driving fatalities across Canada.

“I just want the community that I’m raising my family in to be as safe as it can be, and recognize that there’s other people that want to be living in that safe community,” Sproule said.

Representing the city, Deputy Mayor Peter Bouwsema underlined the serious implications of impaired driving.

“Drinking and driving can easily be prevented, but it continues have a devastating effect on Canadian families,” Bouwsema said.

“Everyone has a stake in making our roads safer, and that is why governments, communities and law-enforcement must all work together to rid our roads of unsafe drivers.”

MADD has taken a leading role in that effort.

“We want to send a message to those who drink and drive that they are going to get caught, go to jail and get a criminal record,” said Debbie Barron of the Lacombe and District MADD chapter.

Source: Lacombe Globe


Last updated on: 2015-08-28 | Link to this post