Wednesday, September 1, 2010

This was not Friday night football

Deputy Mike Burkey
The location was State route 585 near the former Rubbermaid Headquarters.

Officers from the Wooster Police, Wayne County Sheriff and Ohio Highway patrol had their briefing and made their plans. This was not a SWAT operation however.

This was a DUI checkpoint.

Lt. Chad Enderby from the Highway patrol was overseeing the operation. Much of his time was spent insuring that the checkpoint was conducted in the manner approved by the Ohio Supreme Court. Some of the rules are puzzling when you consider the fact that the goal is to catch drunk drivers.
Some of the rules...announcing the location of the checkpoint in the media, placing signs well ahead of the checkpoint location that allow drivers to avoid the checkpoint completely. These are rules placed by the courts and on this night they were followed to the letter.

Traffic cones were placed along the roadway to help insure the officers safety. The plan called for traffic to be checked in both directions and four officers lined both lanes.

Patolman Matthew Simon
I was there when the first car was pulled in. “good evening, I am Deputy Burkey how are you doing tonight?” The deputy said with a smile and a positive tone. The deputy ask to see the persons drivers license and the driver said “this is great I am glad to see you guys out doing this” The deputy saw no signs of impairment and the driver was sent on their way. Total time of delay… about 20 seconds.

This scene was repeated for a total of 833 cars during the evening. No DUI offenders were found. Was the checkpoint a failure? Maybe not.

The next day I was at a public event and I overheard two conversations pertaining to the publicizing of the checkpoint. In both cases the person doing the talking said something to the effect of “I knew they were doing the checkpoints, I was not going to drink just one beer and risk it”. One of these people said they changed their plans and stayed at home.

Maybe the checkpoint was more effective that the numbers show.

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