Canes of kindness

By Geoff Lee

December 20, 2016 12:00 AM

LICENCE AND CANDY PREFERENCE, PLEASE Brett Beckley didn't mind being questioned by RCMP Sgt. Sarah Knelson during a check stop at Fire Hall 2 on Wednesday as he qualified for a candy cane handed out by volunteers including Mayor Gerald Aalberss. The event was dubbed the Candy Cane Check Stop. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO

It was dubbed the Candy Cane Check Stop, with jolly volunteers, led by Mayor Gerald Aalbers, on hand to give out the sweet Christmas treats to motorists who were cleared to go.
“I guess I’m here to be a positive influence and hopefully send a positive message,” said Aalbers,  who provided candy to compliant drivers and passengers.
The special event led by Lloydminster RCMP and city peace officers took place at Fire Hall No. 2 on College Drive Wednesday to kick off the Christmas Check Stop campaign.
“It’s that time of the season that people sometimes take that extra drink and we’re trying to send a very clear message that, please, do not drink and drive,” said Aalbers, with police cars flashing their lights in the background.
“There’s cabs, there’s other ways to get home because the alternative that’s behind me is the red and blue lights and anybody that knows those are not a good sign when you’ve been drinking or driving.”
Aalbers said he’s helped out before on check stops in other communities that he’s lived in as a former volunteer firefighter.
The Check Stop was also a public relations opportunity for new Lloydminster RCMP detachment inspector Neil Pearson to wish motorists a safe holiday season in person.
“Don’t drink and drive and just get home safely and enjoy the holidays with family,” he said.
Pearson took over the top cop post Dec. 12.
“Impaired driving, of course, is a concern to all citizens of Canada and especially the RCMP, it’s a national priority,” said Pearson.
“So we just want to start today with a kickoff to our program just to remind people to be responsible, take alternatives to get home safely.”
Pearson noted Check Stops run all year round to check not just for impairment, but also to check drivers’ licences and insurance registration.
“We also check people for warrants, there’s lots of stuff that goes into it,” he said.
It was cold on Wednesday at the Check Stop, but Pearson is getting a warm reception as he settles back into the community.
“It’s good. I really enjoy being back in town where I was posted in ‘95-‘96 as a constable, so it’s really great to be back in town; it’s grown a little bit since I was here,” he said.
“It’s really a good detachment, lots of good people, a very supportive community—and just really happy to be here and new duties.”
He called the new police building “top drawer” compared to the previous building where he worked during his first stint in town.

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