Canadian Police Threaten Drunk Drivers With Nickelback

In reality, they're big fans of Chad Kroeger's band.

Getty Images / Scott Gries

Those thinking about drinking and driving in one Canadian town have been warned. The Kensington Police Service says that if they catch people driving after imbibing a little too much at a holiday party, not only will they be punished with a fine, criminal charge, and driving suspension — they’ll be treated to some of Nickelback’s greatest hits while sitting in the back of the squad car on the way to the station.

The diabolical law enforcement scheme was thought up by Constable Robb Hartlen. While most people might assume that having to listen to Chad Kroeger singing is supposed to be cruel punishment considering Nickelback’s infamy, Hartlen and the rest of the police department are actually big fans of the band. (Hartlen’s been to at least three concerts and one of his co-workers met his wife at a Nickelback show.) The musical threat was simply meant to bring some humor to the discussion of drinking and driving, since Kroeger was convicted of a DUI back in 2008.

“Drinking and driving is so important and so important to me. The noise of the lesson is often just another person saying don’t drink and drive, but it’s not being heard or heard fast enough,” Hartlen tells Inverse. “Humor takes the edge off a stern lecture and you can receive it better.”

Hartlen explains that it was all meant to be a comical post to inject some humor into warning about drinking and driving rather than actual police policy. First off, the picture they posted on Facebook is of a Nickelback cassette and the force’s squad cars can’t even play them.

Sure, officers could queue up “How You Remind Me” or “Photograph” on Spotify, but Hartlen says that most of the time when they’re transporting someone who was caught drinking and driving, the offenders are upset, realizing they’ve done something wrong. Officers typically chat and console them, letting them know it was a severe hiccup rather than tormenting them with the warblings of Avril Lavigne’s ex. There wouldn’t even really be a chance for officers to play Nickelback’s greatest hits.

The post has since gone viral, with some Nickelback acolytes coming after the police department for denouncing their dear band. One commenter wrote, “Seriously why would you hate on a band from your own country? I would expect something like this from morons here in the US… but come on Canada WTF? Show some love for your boys!!”

There is some validity to this kind of tonal torture. Research has shown that certain music can wear down the brain into a psychological mess. But it hasn’t been proven with Nickelback music.

Meanwhile, people are still caught up with the choice of Nickelback, when in reality it was just an afterthought of Hartlen’s. The constable is more interested in getting the word out about drinking and driving.

“If people are talking about Nickelback, it’s because of a post about drinking and driving,” he says. “Some people are unbelievably angry, but my point to them is I find it strange that you’re more upset that somebody is saying something about a band you like, instead of being more upset about the alarming drinking and driving rates in Canada or in any modernized world. I think your priorities are a little askew.”

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