Edmonton – Cpl. Cumming’s Watch is a collaborative effort between Alberta RCMP and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada to support police efforts in the detection and removal of impaired drivers on Alberta roads. The program is named in honour of Cpl. Graeme Cumming, a member of the RCMP who was killed on duty by an impaired driver while attending a traffic incident on Highway 3 near Lethbridge, Alta., on August 12, 1998.
In 2018, Alberta RCMP laid 3,154 charges for impaired operation of a motor vehicle by alcohol and 83 charges for impaired operation of a motor vehicle by drugs.
This year, Cpl. Cumming’s Watch was held at RCMP “K” Division Headquarters. The program featured a guest speaker from MADD Canada, Ms. Elaine Arnold. In February 2012, Ms. Arnold was involved in a collision with a speeding impaired driver in Edmonton. She had been internally decapitated and was in a coma for the first three months following the accident. It took the surgeon three trials to successfully place a steel rod into Elaine’s neck, in the correct position. Ms. Arnold spoke to the attendees about how the collision has changed her life and her road to recovery.
“Hundreds of people are killed and thousands injured in Canada every year in impaired driving crashes. As an organization dedicated to preventing this terrible crime, and to supporting the victims and survivors, MADD Canada is honoured to have this opportunity to recognize these officers who are taking impaired drivers off the roads,” said MADD Canada Chief Executive Officer Andrew Murie.
“Every year, officers attend to fatal and serious injury collisions where an impaired driver has killed an innocent victim. In some cases, officers called to these collisions find the innocent victim to be a co-worker. Such was the case when Cpl. Graeme Cumming was killed on duty by an impaired driver,” said Supt. Gary Graham, Officer-in-Charge of Alberta RCMP Traffic Services.
Nominations for Cpl. Cumming’s Watch are open to every police agency in Alberta. For charging between 15 and 24 individual impaired drivers during a calendar year, officers receive a certificate of recognition and a Silver Challenge Coin. For charging more than 25 individual impaired drivers during a calendar year, officers receive a certificate of recognition and a Gold Challenge Coin.
This year, 10 police officers received Gold Coin Challenge awards and 12 received Silver Coin Challenge awards. The awards were presented by Supt. Gary Graham, Alberta RCMP Traffic Services and Andrew Murie, the CEO of MADD Canada.