Blue Line

Police officers receive Team Nick Coates Awards for their work to apprehend impaired drivers

September 15, 2023  By The Canadian Press

Sep. 15, 2023, St. John’s, Nfld. – MADD Canada has presented its Team Nick Coates Awards to 12 police officers for their work to take impaired drivers off provincial roads and highways.

This year’s awards honour five officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and seven officers from the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC). A new award was established this year – the Top Performer Award – to highlight the officer from each police service who took the most impaired drivers off the road.

MADD Canada established the Team Nick Coates Awards in 2019 to recognize police officers for their efforts to detect and apprehend impaired drivers. Officers who have taken a minimum of 12 impaired drivers off the roads during the previous year receive the Gold Award. Officers who have taken at least eight impaired drivers off the roads during the previous year receive the Silver Award. Officers also receive certificates and special challenge coins.

The award is named in honour of Nick Coates, who was killed by an impaired driver in August of 2013. Nick was riding his motorcycle back from a work meeting when he was hit by a pick-up truck driven by a man who had been drinking the night before and the morning of the crash. Just 27 years old, Nick was working his dream job as a civil engineer and was engaged to be married.


This year’s awards ceremony, held at RCMP Headquarters in St. John’s, included: Nick’s father Terry Coates and stepmother Patricia Hynes-Coates, who is a former National President of MADD Canada; Assistant Commissioner Jennifer Ebert, Commanding Officer of RCMP Newfoundland and Labrador; Deputy Chief Colin McNeil, RNC; and MADD Canada Chief Executive Officer Steve Sullivan.

Awards were presented to:

2022/2023 RCMP Recipients

  • Cassandra Barker – Silver (8)
  • Jules Gittens – Silver (9)
  • Mackenzie McCoy – Silver (8)
  • Caleb Pellerin – Gold (57)
  • Raymond Whalen – Gold (13)

2022/2023 RNC Recipients

  • Michael Carter – Silver (10)
  • Shane McClafferty – Silver (9)
  • Terence Reid – Silver (8)
  • Kurt Etchegary – Gold (12)
  • Geoffrey Heffernan – Gold (17)
  • Cody Langmead – Gold (103)
  • Bernard Morgan – Gold (27)

The new Top Performer Award was presented to RCMP Cst. Caleb Pellerin and RNC Cst. Cody Langmead for achieving the highest number of charges and sanctions for their respective police services.

“Impaired driving continues to have devastating impacts on individuals and families in this province, which is very unfortunate given these impacts are entirely preventable,” said RCMP NL Commanding Officer Jennifer Ebert. “I commend MADD Canada on its important work and for recognizing our police officers for their commitment to making roads safer for everyone.”

“The pain of losing a loved one to an impaired driver is immeasurable and as demonstrated by the officers being recognized today, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is dedicated to removing impaired drivers from our roadways,” said Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Patrick R. Roche. “We continue to increase the number of officers trained as breath technicians and drug recognition experts. We are doing our part, and I challenge all residents of the province to do their part too.”

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