It's the end of an era for an officer and his car.
Retired traffic Staff Sgt. Aime Decae has reached the end of the road for his time as a 20-year volunteer coordinator.
He has been steering Saskatoon’s youth away from illegal street racing on Eighth Street since the late 90s. The program was designed by the Saskatchewan International Raceway and was entirely non-tax funded.
"Issuing tickets all day long sometimes does not get the result you want," said Decae. "You have to go out and educate the young youth driver and hopefully with a safety program like this they come out to a sanctioned track. Our motto became … if you want to race, the street is not the place."
Every year he would spend between 400 to 500 hours educating the youth on speeding and taking people with lead feet out to the track to race Decae in his pristine 1996 Chevy Caprice.
"At SIR that was 95 per cent of the time," said Decae. "It was youthful drivers that would come out, and where else can you pull up to a fully marked police car with a light controlled device to test yourself, your car and you're doing it with an actual police car with the red and blue lights going."
Take it to the track
Decae's efforts didn't go unnoticed.
"His service was invaluable," said Brian Stephenson, owner of Performance Plus, a local auto shop. "Definitely has helped get many, many people that may be illegally racing or looking for races to go out to a safer place and put it on the track instead of in the public roads.”
"He's headed the program since day one," said Shawn Zezula, manager at SIR. "We are going to miss him, it would be nice if someone still picked up that police side of it, and with their involvement it really brought awareness to our program we are continuing to run."
Decae says it would be difficult for someone from the police service to fill his shoes based on the amount of time needed. Decae dedicated his time as a volunteer to the life of RCMP officer Erin Beck, who died in a motorcycle accident. As a colleague she had inspired Decae to take on this role after he retired from the police force.
Decae plans to enjoy some much needed time off after 50 years of service between his time in the RCMP Barracks, work as a staff sergeant and volunteering for the police coordination of the street legal program.
He’s thankful for the opportunity to operate a program independent of the police service, but still attached to it, and hopes street legal programs such as this will continue to thrive in Canada and the U.S.
"It meant a great deal to me, the officers that have come and gone on the program. That we could do something to make our streets safer and I thank them from the bottom of my heart."