This is by no means a call for desperate measures. In fact, people should be thankful for the diligence of the family of victims of a drunk driver to get the warning out.
In what is being described as an unusual step, police in Halifax have issued a warning to all Nova Scotia residents about the release of a man who served seven years for impaired driving causing the deaths of two people. Michael Gerard Cooper, released from Dorchester Penitentiary on Tuesday, is expected to move to the Halifax area.
Cooper was convicted in 2007 for a crash in 2004 in Cape Breton that killed Angela Smits, 19, and her 20-year-old boyfriend, Michael MacLean.
Leading up to his prison release, family of the young people urged police to let people know Cooper’s whereabouts. The police agreed, a move that Gerard Smits, the woman’s father, said he was pleased to hear.
Family members also asked that the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission post Cooper’s photo in liquor stores, bars and other licensed establishments, since in addition to a lifetime driving ban, he has been ordered to abstain from buying, possessing or drinking alcohol for two years.
The request from the family is hardly a modern version of the scarlet letter. Cooper, in an earlier appearance before the Parole Board of Canada, admitted he would likely continue to drink and drive.
It’s scarcely believable someone, particularly after such tragic consequences, could be so determined to continue a reckless path. The word callous comes to mind.
The NSLC has said it will instruct employees to call 911 if Cooper is spotted in any of their stores. As for bars, authority over them is the responsibility of the Utility and Review Board, which had yet to respond to the request.
Unusual the moves might seem, but in such an extreme instance, this should serve as an example. Also, in conjunction with the warnings to residents, this is the kind of collective vigilance that can help reduce crime and prevent others from being victims.