November 19, 2020
Const. Heidi Stevenson, the RCMP officer murdered in the Nova Scotia mass shooting, has posthumously received an award for her work in preventing impaired driving.
The Terry Ryan Memorial Award for Excellence in Police Service was awarded to Stevenson’s family Friday night.
Andrew Murie, CEO of MADD Canada, said Stevenson had a long record of preventing impaired driving. She was a drug recognition expert and did training in her community on drugs and driving.
“She was a leader to her peers, she was a leader in the community … and unfortunately, Heidi did the ultimate sacrifice,” said Murie.
“Just like her approach to impaired driving, she pitched in that evening to try to stop that gunman, and ultimately gave the sacrifice of her own life.”
Stevenson, a member of the RCMP’s detachment in Cole Harbour, N.S., was killed while on duty during the mass shooting in April, which left 22 victims dead.
Anissa MacLeod, MADD Canada’s Atlantic director, said the organization “didn’t think twice” about recognizing Stevenson’s efforts to keep impaired drivers off the road.
“She was well-known and respected amongst the drug recognition experts, she testified in court, she was very community-oriented and certainly fought against impaired driving throughout her career,” she said.
“So it was important for us to recognize that dedication and that commitment to stop impaired driving.”
MADD Canada estimates that four people are killed and more than 170 are injured each day by an impaired driver.
Anissa’s husband, John MacLeod, a Halifax Regional Police constable and president of MADD Canada’s Halifax chapter, said he worked alongside Stevenson many times over the years teaching about the dangers of impaired driving.
“Heidi had that focus on impaired driving, she recognized the dangers that it presents to our communities,” he said.
“Not only did she advance her own skills and abilities in detecting those impaired drivers, but most importantly [she] shared that with other police officers so that they could go forward and do that as well.”
The MacLeods presented Stevenson’s family with the award, which is named after an Ontario police officer who was killed by an impaired driver in 2002.
“We were just honoured to do this for the family,” said John.
“[It was] important to let them know … what their mom did that was very special, and what she did in the community to keep us all safe.”
In a statement, RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Lisa Croteau said: “We are proud of Heidi and honoured that she was chosen as recipient of this award.”
MADD launches red ribbon campaign
On Wednesday, the MacLeods, along with MADD volunteers, were at the Macdonald Bridge in Dartmouth, N.S., to hand out ribbons as part of the organization’s Project Red Ribbon campaign.
The annual campaign promotes the importance of sober driving during the holiday season.
Anissa said people were receptive to the campaign, both on Wednesday morning and in previous years.
“Most of the volunteers today have lost a loved one to impaired driving,” she said. “So they’re here, giving their time, paying tribute to their loved one and reminding people of the dangers of impaired driving.”
John couldn’t recall if Stevenson had participated at the event at the Macdonald Bridge last year, but said “there’s no doubt in my mind” that she would have taken part at some point.