Cpl. Cumming's Watch is a collaborative effort between Alberta RCMP, MADD Canada and Alberta Transportation to support police efforts in the detection and apprehension of impaired drivers on Alberta roadways. 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, Alberta on August 12, 1998.
"Every year, officers attend to fatal and serious injury collisions where an impaired driver has killed an innocent victim," said Inspector Steve Daley, Acting Officer-in-Charge of Alberta RCMP Traffic Services. "In some cases officers are called to a collision involving a friend, co-worker or family member. Such was the case when Cpl. Graeme Cumming was killed on duty by an impaired driver."
In 2016, there were 6,225 files involving impaired driving in Alberta RCMP jurisdictions. An Alberta Transportation study found that on average in Alberta, one in five drivers involved in fatal collisions had been drinking prior to the collision (based on data from 2009-2013).
This year, Cpl. Cumming's Watch was held in Edmonton on March 2. The program featured a guest speaker and volunteer from MADD Canada, Ms. MJ Appleby. In June 2015, Ms. Appleby was involved in a collision with an impaired driver on the Yellowhead highway near Vegreville, Alberta. She suffered multiple injuries and a severe concussion. Ms. Appleby spoke to the program attendees about the collision and how it has changed her life.
Ms. Appleby shares a special connection with Cpl. Cumming's Watch. Her father is a retired member of the RCMP who had the privilege of working with the late Cpl. CUMMING in Lethbridge in 1996. Mr. Appleby is still actively serving as a reserve member of the RCMP.
"MADD Canada, our Chapters and Community Leaders work closely with law enforcement and we know how truly dedicated they are to taking impaired drivers off the road," said MADD Canada Chief Executive Officer Andrew Murie. "We are very proud to support Cpl. Cumming's Watch and recognize the incredible efforts of officers who work so hard to protect us all."
Nominations for Cpl. Cumming's Watch are open to every police agency in Alberta. For charging between 15 and 24 impaired drivers during a calendar year, officers receive a certificate of recognition and a Silver Challenge Coin. For charging more than 25 impaired drivers during a calendar year, officers receive a certificate of recognition and a Gold Challenge Coin. This year, 11 police officers received Gold Coin Challenge awards and 22 received Silver Coin Challenge awards.
The awards were presented by Insp. Steve Daley, Acting Officer-in-Charge of Alberta RCMP Traffic Services, Andrew Murie, the CEO of MADD Canada and Wendy Dole, the Executive Director of the Office of Traffic Safety.