History of CATAIR
For any idea to succeed support has to come from those who have a passion. In 1984, Inspector Bob Rivers (RCMP "E" Division) had a passion, a position, and recognized the need for a thorough and proper investigation of Motor Vehicle Accidents. Inspector Rivers was a major supporter in establishing Canadian Police College (CPC) advanced training programs.
The idea for a support group of collision investigators within Canada was initially spawned over lunch discussions at the Canadian Police College. The idea was originally brought up by Dr. Bill Mulligan, University of Manitoba. The rationale in part was that CPC was producing approximately 50 accident (1982 terminology) analysts per year from throughout Canada, and there was a need for a medium for the analysts to discuss issues, and seek reference material.
The CPC had initiated training accident analysts in August 1982. From the inception of this training program, Sgt. Don LeComte was the course coordinator, assisted by Sgt. Ed D'Oust and Cpl. Harold Bowes. In 1983, Sgt. LeComte, his tenure completed at CPC, retired and returned to British Columbia to embark on private practice. Upon returning to British Columbia, Sgt. LeComte continued to discuss the possibility of forming a network for Canadian accident analysts to be able to discuss their various issues, and build on each other's experiences. Cpl. Scott Sanderson and Cpl. Bob Hancock assisted Sgt. LeComte in developing what we now know as the Canadian Association of Technical Accident Investigators and Reconstructionists, or CATAIR for short.
Developing a name and a recognizable logo for the new group resulted in many hours of pondering and many restless nights for Don. As with most things, however, everything fell together when, one day, he happened upon an outline picture of our great country, and it was immediately clear that this outline would have to be incorporated in our logo. After that, the acronym of CATAIR was inserted into the national outline, and our name and logo were formed!
Sgt. LeComte continued in his quest of formalizing the creation of CATAIR by assembling a group of accident analysts and resource people to assist in developing bylaws, and obtaining legislative approval.
Bob Hancock was instrumental in developing a comprehensive set of bylaws, with Bob Rivers assisting. CATAIR became incorporated under the British Columbia Societies Act in April 1984. Sgt. LeComte used his own funds to deposit the required amount into a bank account to permit the incorporation to proceed, and filed the application for incorporation. The applicants for incorporation included Don. LeComte, Robert (Bob) Hancock, Michael Fjermestad, Ron Boothman, and Peter Burleigh.
Our first executive consisted of:
- Don LeComte - President
- In Memoriam: Don was born on May 2, 1942 and passed on October 29, 2022 at the age of 80. Don retired from the regular service RCMP as a Sgt in 1983. He was the original course coordinator of the “Technical Accident Investigation Course” at the Canadian Police College, holding the initial course in August 1982.
- Ed D'Aoust - Vice President
- Bob Hancock - Secretary/Treasurer
- Mike Fjermestad - Director
- Peter Burleigh - Director
- Ron Boothman - Director
- Jim Gillespie - Director
- Harold Bowes - Director
- Ken Zwicker - Director
- Frank Navin, Ph.D. (UBC) - Director
Ken Zwicker until recently, has remained a member of the National executive throughout the entire history of CATAIR! Ken has served as Director, Secretary, Treasurer. Ken remains an active member in the Atlantic Region!
Initially, the association consisted primarily of the executive, with a total first year membership of only 25! Since then, CATAIR has processed over 1000 applications, and continues to maintain an annual membership over 300. Currently our membership consists of both law enforcement and private sector consultants, with the membership being relatively equal in proportion.
CATAIR is celebrating our 30th year of incorporation in 2014. In 1996 our association became nationally incorporated under Industry Canada. This transfer of incorporation permitted more flexibility in where our annual conferences were held. As a result of being nationally incorporated, CATAIR has hosted our annual events from Canadian coast to coast, as well as having co-hosted events in Texas twice, and journeyed to Alaska in 2008. The 2008 conference had the added benefit in permitting our association help celebrate the 70th birthday of one of our initial executive members, Dr. Frank Navin. Frank continues to be of great assistance to our association, and the accident reconstruction community as a whole, for which we are all eternally grateful!
Over the years we have had only five Presidents. The executive positions are two year terms. Don LeComte served one term as President, followed by Peter Keith, who also served one term. Debra Anderson, followed by Dwain Friesen each served two terms as President. The current President is Terry Lolacher.
CATAIR is comprised of a National executive body, as well as three Regional bodies representing the membership of the Atlantic Provinces, Ontario & Quebec, and within the Prairie Provinces & British Columbia. The initial region was formed after the 1994 annual conference, hosted in Mississauga, Ontario, with the Ontario Region being officially formed by amendments to our bylaws at the 1995 annual meeting. The Chair persons of each Region hold Director positions on the National executive. Regional representation benefits our membership by being able to provide additional localized identified training, thereby reducing costs to all.
CATAIR is proud to have been one of the original supporting agencies for the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction (ACTAR) in 1991. CATAIR remains committed to this valuable process, and continues to hold a position on the Governing Board of Directors for this organization.