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MADD names Officer of the Year

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A three year constable with the North Bay police is the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Officer of the Year.   Mitchell Thomas was recognized for stopping six people for impaired during 2017, the highest among the service.   After receiving the award, Thomas told the local media one thing that’s concerning about the impaired issue is people driving high after marijuana becomes legal this summer.   “It will be more difficult to pinpoint impaired driving by drugs especially marijuana,” Thomas said.   He adds it’s going to be more difficult tracking someone down in this area compared to another person who may be drinking and driving.

Thomas believes it’s important to get impaired drivers off the road but adds this is easier said than done.   “It’s crazy to think how many slip through the cracks to get where they’re going,” he said.  “I’m sure the number is astronomical but it’s hard to catch everyone.”   Thomas recalls his first ever impaired driver three years ago who was an out-of-town driver.  The police got tipped off about a person leaving a bar with one too many under his belt and responded.  To say the person should not have been driving would be an understatement.  Thomas said the individual drove over a snowbank, ran a red light then turned the wrong way on a one way street.

Something the constable has noticed over his short career is that people stopped for impaired tend to be more unruly as he puts it.   “They get their backs up against the wall a little,” he said.  “Some people can be more confrontational after a few drinks.”   Another observation Thomas has made is the number of times he encounters a drinking and driving motorist who says he only had one drink at dinner time or two beers a couple of hour ago.  He says the breathalyzer proves otherwise.   As for being recognized by MADD, Thomas says while it’s nice to receive the award, it’s more important for him and his colleagues to keep a look out for impaired drivers and keep them off city streets.

 

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