OPP officer recognized for work addressing impaired driving

Peterborough, ON, Canada / (CHEXTV)

It’s a reputation Peterborough County could do without: Consistently leading the province in the number of impaired charges laid by the Ontario Provincial Police.

As Steve Guthrie tells us, while they have new ideas on combatting drinking and driving, they say there’s another problem on the horizon:

In 2014, Peterborough County made up 16 per cent of the 1,204 impaired charges laid in the OPP Central Region.
The Peterborough County Detachment says that’s in part due the aggressive enforcement by its officers.
Constable Marc Gravelle, Peterborough County OPP: “It had a deep impact on me, dealing with the scenes as well as dealing with the families. And it’s so senseless and it’s something frontline officers can target”
Constable Gravelle was awarded the the Terry Ryan Memorial Award on Saturday as a part of Mother’s against drunk driver Canada’s National Conference and Volunteer Awards night.
It is awarded handed out annually to recognize exemplary service in reducing the incidence of impaired driving.

In some cases, drivers are caught and charged multiple times. A new program called Community Mobilization teams the OPP with community partners to try and figure out why some drivers continue to drink and drive

Gravelle: “We have to look at what’s causing that and typically it might be something that’s a social development issue. Such as addiction and or dealing with depression, it could be a mental health related issue and alcohol is a coping mechanism for them, so that’s where we use our community mobilization to fight this issue and essential get the person help whether it be counselling or addressing the issue of their addiction”
While dealing with the effects of drinking and driving, MADD Canada is also concerned about the impending legalization of marijuana and it’s impact on impaired driving
Lesley Kirton, Community Leader for MADD Canada, Peterborough: “The testing equipment for police, what are the charges going to be, what are the levels going to be, what’s the research regarding smoking marijuana when you are already on a depressant, if you are on an anti-anxiety medication, which a lot of the population are on these days, there’s just so much to it, it’s a much larger picture these days.”
The federal government is expected to bring forward a bill legalizing the use of marijuana by next spring.

Steve Guthrie CHEX Newswatch Peterborough

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