Elf booked for DUI in pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ment

Pla­cen­tia RCMP use Elf on the Shelf to demon­strate the reper­cus­sions of drink­ing and driv­ing

The Compass - - NEWS - BYMELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

The Pla­cen­tia de­tach­ment of the RCMP has thought out­side the box for its an­nual Christ­mas pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ment.

For the sec­ond year in a row, the pop­u­lar “Elf on the Shelf ” chil­dren’s toy has been send­ing an im­por­tant mes­sage to the res­i­dents of New­found­land and Labrador — don’t drink and drive.

The elf is a helper for Santa Claus, who en­ters the home of boys and girls and re­ports their be­hav­iour back to the North Pole. He only comes to life when ev­ery­one is asleep.

Const. Tony Sea­ward was the mas­ter­mind be­hind the cam­paign, which saw the red and white elf go on a drink­ing binge, drive drunk with fel­low chil­dren’s toy Bar­bie, take a breath­a­lyzer test and get thrown in jail.

Known for his mis­chievous na­ture, the elf has caused some trou­ble in houses across the prov­ince since it was in­tro­duced in 2005 through a chil­dren’s pic­ture book by Amer­i­can au­thor Carol Ae­ber­sold and her daugh­ter Chanda Bell. But this amount of mis­chief is above and be­yond what the av­er­age house­hold would see their elf pro­duce.

“Last year I no­ticed how pop­u­lar (the elf) was on so­cial me­dia,” Sea-- ward told The Com­pass in a phone in­ter­view from the Pla­cen­tia de­tach­ment. “Last year we did a pic­ture with the elf hold­ing the radar in a po­lice car. This year I just thought I’d try some­thing else.”

Sea­ward de­cided to go with im­paired driv­ing.

He ex­plained there are many Christ­mas par­ties tak­ing place this time of year, and that has been one of the rea­sons drink­ing and driv­ing is prom­i­nent dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son.

When asked why the elf was cho­sen for the cam­paign, his ex­pla­na­tion was sim­ple.

“The elf is very pop­u­lar, and it’s also an im­por­tant mes­sage to get out,” he said.

The cam­paign, which was posted on the Face­book page for the Royal Cana­dian Mounted Po­lice in New­found­land and Labrador on Dec. 9, has gone vi­ral.

An RCMP of­fi­cer, who was re­cently trans­ferred from Bri­tish Columbia to Pla­cen­tia, told the de­tach­ment the elf has re­ceived at­ten­tion in BC as well.

So far, Sea­ward said, it has been viewed very pos­i­tively.

The photo al­bum has been shared hun­dreds of times, but will it change the be­hav­iours of those who con­sider drink­ing and driv­ing?

“With all th­ese cam­paigns, it’s im­pos­si­ble to know if it is suc­cess­ful,” Sea­ward said. “If just one per­son sees it and doesn’t drink and drive, it’s a suc­cess.”

To see the pho­tos from the cam-paign, visit https://www.face­book.com/me­dia/set/?set=a.10151940188522779.1073741826.214737737778&type=1.

Pho­tos sub­mit­ted by Con­sta­ble Tony Sea­ward

The Elf on the Shelf got him­self in a bit of trou­ble af­ter drink­ing too much. He made the poor de­ci­sion to drink and drive and got pulled over by the po­lice. In the pas­sen­ger seat is friend Bar­bie.

Const. Tony Sea­ward of the Pla­cen­tia de­tach­ment of the RCMP cre­ated a pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ment about drink­ing and driv­ing by us­ing pop­u­lar christ­mas toy, Elf on the Shelf.

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