HALIFAX: Cst. Heidi Stevenson, a former Antigonish native and the RCMP officer who was killed in the line of duty during Nova Scotia’s mass shooting on April 19, has received a national award posthumously from MADD Canada.
The Terry Ryan Memorial Award for Excellence in Police Service – awarded to Cst. Stevenson for her diligent work in preventing impaired driving – was awarded to her family earlier this month.
Cst. Stevenson was killed after she rammed her RCMP cruiser into the vehicle driven by a gunman disguised as an RCMP officer during the Portapique massacre.
She becomes the seventh Nova Scotia police officer to be honoured with the national award.
“She volunteered to leave her area and face that danger in an attempt to locate and stop this man,” the release said. “Cst. Stevenson was a shining example of a dedicated police officer.”
After graduating from Dr. J.H. Gillis Regional High School in Antigonish, Cst. Stevenson went on to become a 23-year veteran with the RCMP and was stationed with the Cole Harbour detachment – one of the busiest in eastern Canada.
“The demands on a front-line police officer are great,” the release said. “Despite this, Cst. Stevenson always made sure to make the enforcement of impaired driving laws a priority in her daily activities.”
Striving to always improve her traffic enforcement capabilities by seeking out additional training, MADD recognized how Cst. Stevenson completed one of the most difficult courses in policing – the Drug Recognition Evaluator Program.
Someone who was always sharing her knowledge with fellow officers, Cst. Stevenson was chosen as one of a select few to become an instructor on Evidentiary Breath Training, Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and Drug Recognition.
The award for excellence in police service is named in memorial of Cst. Terry Ryan who died in May 2002, when he was killed in a two-car, alcohol-related crash on his way home from a police function in Ontario.
“She had a genuine passion for keeping her community and the public safe,” the release added. “And [Cst. Stevenson] truly recognized how impaired driving enforcement contributed to that goal.”