The Guardian
October 7, 2020

RCMP Const. Stephen Duggan says no one should be in danger of driving “due to the careless decisions of others who drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.”A A

Bit by bit, impaired drivers eat away at RCMP Const. Stephen Duggan.

Over his 14-year career as a Mountie, Duggan has dealt directly with hundreds of motorists who decided to get behind the wheel while alcohol and/or drugs were impairing their ability to drive.

Impaired drivers have kept the constable busy in his roles as a drug recognition evaluator, a standard field sobriety test evaluator and as a breath test operator.

Duggan, like other officers, has also had the unenviable task time and again of informing people they have lost a loved one due to the careless, criminal action of an impaired motorist.

Not a year goes by that the officer doesn’t have to make at least one emotionally draining visit to a home to deliver such devastating news.

“It’s always a shock and a lot of tears at first,’’ he says.

“Then there is almost a sense of disbelief.’’

Duggan does his best each time to ease the intense blow with as much heartfelt sympathy and compassion as possible. It comes with an emotional cost, but he is willing to pay the price.

“So, when you leave that person’s home,’’ he says, “you have lost a bit of yourself.’’

Still, Duggan has chosen to do more than his job requires to address impaired driving.

In 2015, he got involved at the local level with MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers), a group determined to curb impaired driving and provide support to victims of this crime.

Duggan says MADD has given him even greater insight than he ever had as an officer into the devastating effects of impaired driving.

“Being a victim is forever,’’ he says.

“There are a lot of processes to work through.’’

In 2017, Duggan was awarded the P.E.I. Crime Stoppers police officer of the year award for the RCMP for his various presentations to school and community groups on making the right choice by not driving impaired.

“It’s a choice that can save lives and a message that I am happy to promote to stop impaired driving on P.E.I.,” he says.

He has also been rewarded by having students thank him for influencing them to make that right choice when push came to shove.

Now Duggan is joining the national board of MADD Canada – the first person from P.E.I. to do so.

He was both surprised and pleased with the appointment. He is keen in helping the organization continue to find ways to reduce impaired driving and to assist victims.

“I hope to bring my experiences as a general duty police officer and add some of that to the message that MADD delivers. If anything I can contribute enhances their message, then it benefits everybody,” he says, adding he is “passionate about the safety of Islanders and those who visit our Island … I know we can do better, and I am stepping up to help.’’

The RCMP certainly feel MADD Canada is getting a good addition to the national board.

“Prince Edward Island will now have a strong voice at the table to work towards this vital task to stop impaired driving,’’ the P.E.I. division of the RCMP said in a release.