DPD Chief Constable Neil Dubord. (Delta Police Department photo)

COLUMN: New training helps Delta police detect impaired drivers

DPD data shows police are catching more impaired drivers than they did two years ago

By Neil Dubord, Delta Police Department

Don’t drive drunk or high. It’s a message we put out ad nauseum, yet our data shows that we are catching more impaired drivers today than we did two years ago. Here’s the funny thing about this data: we could reduce our data on impaired driving to zero if we wanted to — we would simply stop enforcing the laws. We could be the only city in Canada with zero impaired drivers on our roads, at least according to statistics.

So when I look at the increase in those numbers, I don’t necessarily see it as a negative. What I do see is Delta police officers catching more impaired drivers than they used to. But why?

Enter the legalization of cannabis. This new law brought with it an influx of impaired driving public education in the hopes that we could deter people from consuming cannabis and getting behind the wheel. But what also came with these new laws was an entire curriculum on roadside sobriety testing for our police officers.

DPD officers have become far more sophisticated in their ability to detect and prove impaired driving at roadside with or without a screening device. Standard field sobriety testing and drug recognition expert training are new tools for our front line. Police are out looking more diligently for impaired drivers because of legal cannabis, but what they are finding is more alcohol-impaired drivers.

RELATED: ‘Significant increase’ in the number of drunk drivers on Delta streets in 2019

There is a collective frustration at the DPD when we hear about the number of impaired drivers that were caught over a weekend. From our patrol section to traffic section to public affairs, many of our staff work towards keeping our roads safe from drunk drivers as a part of their daily duties. Some days, they feel as though their work is futile.

I can tell you it is not.

Perhaps two years ago, some of these drivers would not have been investigated the way they are today. I believe the enhanced training our officers have received under the auspices of drug-impaired driving has sharpened their skills, and kept impaired driving top of mind 24 hours, seven days a week.

To add to this, legislation now allows officers to demand a roadside screening test without reasonable suspicion. In general, however, our officers do establish suspicion or grounds before making a demand, simply because it is diligent police work.

So, before you get behind the wheel, remember that Delta Police has a cadre of officers with enhanced training in impaired driving, and they have tools and legislation to back them up. They have seen the carnage and devastation caused by impaired driving first-hand and they have had to do next-of-kin notifications. They’d rather stop it before it happens and they take this very, very seriously.

Everyone has a right to be safe on our roads and those who put others at risk will be held accountable. Would I like to see our statistics related to impaired driving decrease? Yes, and no. I am proud of the work of our front line and I don’t want them to let their foot off the gas. Every impaired driver taken off the road reduces that risk just a little.

Share this with friends and family. Have the conversation. Make a plan. Help us keep our roads safe.

Neil Dubord is chief constable of the Delta Police Department.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ColumnDeltaimpaired drivingPolice

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Delta companies asked to contribute through B.C.’s new COVID-19 supply hub

New online hub to co-ordinate, source, expedite supplies and equipment to support front-line workers

Two people fined for trying to re-sell N95 and surgical masks in Delta

Police confiscated over 5,000 masks and are working with Fraser Health to see them put to good use

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and beyond

APRIL 4: Two people in Delta fined for trying to re-sell N95 masks

33-storey highrise proposal coming to Surrey council, first of three phases

Second and third phases include 36-storey and 31-storey towers

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Exercises move online with YMCA’s new nationwide virtual workout program

YThrive Home offers dozens of free workout videos for people during COVID-19 self-isolation period

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution; two other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, says correctional officer

B.C. community service provider hosts friendly art competition for youth

Theme for Pacific Community Resources contest is ‘finding the silver lining in difficult times’

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

TransLink to reduce service on some bus routes, SeaBus, West Coast Express

Changes start April 6 ‘due to low ridership and financial pressures’ amid COVID-19

Most Read