01 July 2009

KCPD chief defends checkpoints.

Money quote:
The federal and state governments are so confident in the need for sobriety checkpoints that they not only pay for the overtime of a minimum of 10 officers at each checkpoint, they also provide the police department equipment to use.
Shit the bed! Why does a planned checkpoint operation require paying overtime to a minimum of 10 officers?
Permit me to summarize Chief Corwin's argument (my comments parenthetically.)
1. 79% of traffic fatalities involve people driving under the influence.
(No citation, but careful parsing here. Chief Corwin doesn't say drivers were intoxicated, only "under the influence," which could mean nearly anything. Also no mention of how much influencing was by prescription, or what, if any, part the influence played in the fatality.)
2. Checkpoints are not a waste of resources because they're not using city money.
(They're a waste of federal and state money, which presumably arrives on a rainbow delivered by fairies riding unicorns).
3. Even if we wanted to use the money in another way we can't.
(Hey, we don't want to haul down all that sweet, sweet overtime — they're forcing us to take it!)
4. Checkpoints are great deterrents.
(No mention of how this supposedly works. However, elsewhere Chief Corwin reports that last year 49% of traffic fatalities involved drugs/alcohol. This year he says it's approaching 80%. If checkpoints actually deterred DWIs, shouldn't the percentage be decreasing?)
5. Checkpoints are educational.
(It's not like you're gonna learn in high school civics that the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments of the US Constitution do not apply at sobriety checkpoints.)
6. Checkpoints also make arrests, but that's not really important and we don't want to make these arrests.
(Checkpoints produce maybe 2 arrests per hour, which is almost certainly fewer than 10 officers performing roving patrols, acting on probable cause, could generate. There are also police operations called "wolfpacks" where officers are directed to ignore other calls and make DWI busts exclusively. Wolfpacks.)
7. As a police department we would be remiss to ignore the problem of drunk driving.
(Absolutely agreed. Why not do it the way you confront other crimes? Within the boundaries of the Constitution, in a manner that isn't designed to intentionally frighten and inconvenience innocent parties?)

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