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Editorial

Original post made on May 9, 2008

We were stopped in our tracks twice Monday, first by traffic on westbound Bernal Avenue that was waiting to be processed through a one-lane thoroughfare at a sobriety checkpoint next to the fairgrounds, and later at the office where we found an unsolicited email from the American Beverage Institute (ABI) telling us that those roadside checks are a waste of money. Both the checkpoint and email caught our attention, and really for two reasons. Sarah Longwell, ABI's managing director in Washington, D.C. who wrote us, seemed to know a lot about the Pleasanton checkpoint for someone 3,000 miles away. Second, that checkpoint, which involved officers from Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore, the California Highway Patrol and the Alameda County Sheriff's Department, was well publicized in advance with the specific location announced on TV30's "Live at 4" news broadcast well before the road cones were placed to stop westbound motorists.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 9, 2008, 12:00 AM

Comments (8)

Posted by raven, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 9, 2008 at 9:37 pm

You've got to be kidding me Mr Editor! You believe that because only 4 people were arrested for drunk driving, that the officers involved in this DUI m checkpoint should go back to their "own turf" and catch their" own" drunk drivers. What happened to "community policing" that we are all supposed to believe in. A cop is a cop if they are in uniform doing their jobs no matter what the community they are working in. 4 drunks in Santa Rita saved me, my husband and my son for being killed in town on Monday. find out from the PPD if they are working from a grant, on top of any money from the agency involved in the DUI checkpoint. Here is an idea if you think that PPD should work alone in their quest to rid Pleasanton of drunk drivers, let's have them set up a DUI checkpoint outside the parking lot of the high schools the night of graduation when they arrive for the big party and see how many kids are drunk coming to this event? Would this be use of PPD time and money? I say hats off to the DUI checkpoints! This editorial is just another head in the sand attitude about what goes on in this community. "Community policing" mentality has made everybody spoiled and soft. It is the duty of law enforcement officers to "enforce" the law!



Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on May 10, 2008 at 12:20 am

My only complaint with this sobriety checkpoint is the fact that the time and location was announced long before the event took place. With this info it's easy to avoid an area.

If PPD is really serious - pick a location on a Fri./Sat. night, throw out the cones and get on with it.

Wonder if the person from ABI would have ridden in a vehicle with any one of the four that were arrested.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on May 10, 2008 at 9:49 am

Grow up! The law is the law. If there was no such law, then there wouldn't have been so many officers out busting drunks.

I love it when I read about officers busting the drunk...hooray!

I wonder how aaron, matt and 5.0 didn't get put away?

VIVA THE LAWS OF CALIFORNIA! HOORAY FOR THE ARRESTING OFFICERS!!!

POOR BABY....editor...tee hee hee, tee hee hee...


Posted by Huh? Read that again, a resident of Downtown
on May 10, 2008 at 6:37 pm

Raven, Reread the article. I don't think you get it. Sounds like the folks who have their heads in the sand are the folks who publicized the stops, not the editorial. I agree that there probably would have been more people busted if they were unaware of the checkpoints and it the police had been stopping people in the other towns, instead of collecting all their efforts in one place.


Posted by unclehomerr.., a resident of Downtown
on May 11, 2008 at 8:31 pm

When I took high school journalism, I remember writing 'phony' letters to the editor signed 'a concerned student' or a provocative editorial to stimulate talk and response. I hope that's what you're doing here.

This beverage association publicist probably disagrees with server and host liability laws too. They probably oppose anything which stands in the way of sales of alcohol. In this case.. these officers were off duty. They were paid with grant money, not tax dollars. That's how willing they are to participate.. they could have been sitting on their couch in their underwear watching Oprah reruns. Every minute of the 4 1/2 hours was worth the effort. Many stayed after their regular shifts or left after the checkpoint to go to their regular shifts. No regular policing was lost for this effort. Tip'o the hat to them. Keep up the good work. 4 or 40.. everyone of them needed to be taken off the road. Oh.. and as for posting the location?? Drunks don't sit at home watching Channel 30 news.. not many sober people do either! Even if they did, they'd have forgotten it by 8 or 9pm. It wasn't a problem, believe me.

unclehomerr..


Posted by first gen, a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on May 13, 2008 at 11:05 am

The Police DON'T have a choice but to announce the locations of the checkpoints in advance due to a California Supreme Court decision:

Shortly after a 1984 California Attorney General's Opinion set out what were intended to be strict guidelines for the legality of drunk driving roadblocks, police began using them to apprehend drunk drivers.

Roadblocks carried out pursuant to those strict guidelines* have been approved by the California Supreme Court (Ingersoll v Palmer (1987) 43 C3d 1321, 241, CR42). In this 4-3 decision the court stated, "We conclude that within certain limitations a sobriety checkpoint may be operated in a manner consistent with the federal and state Constitutions." The decision stressed a theme of "balancing the need to search against the need to search entrails".

In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court also gave general approval to the use of roadblocks to enforce drunk driving laws (Michigan State Police Dept. v Sitz (1990) 496 U.S. 444, 110 S.Ct.2481, 110 L.Ed.2d 412, 47 CrL (BNA) 2155).

The court's decision in Ingersoll was based upon this reason. The court stated that the primary purpose of a roadblock is to deter drunk driving, rather than to arrest offenders, And that therefore Fourth Amendment considerations are not involved.

*Ingersoll guidelines fall under these general headings:
1)Decision Making at the Supervisory Level
2)Limits of Discretion of Field Officers
3)Maintenance of Safety Conditions
4)Reasonable Location
5)Time and Duration
6)Indicia of Official Nature of Roadblock
7)Length and Nature of Detention
8)Advance Publicity

Web Link


Posted by Mary Klotzbach, a resident of Livermore
on May 15, 2008 at 5:51 am

Letter to the Editor:

In response to "Do sobriety checkpoints make any sense?" published May 9 in the Pleasanton Weekly, the answer is yes. Research has shown that highly publicized, highly visible and frequent sobriety checkpoints reduce alcohol-related crashes and fatalities by an average of 20 percent.

As a nurse at a trauma center who has seen and continues to see the results of drinking and driving on a very regular basis, and as a mother who was in the car when our son, Matt, was killed by a drunk driver, I am saddened to read the editor's remarks about being "stopped in their tracks" because they drove through a sobriety check point. I'm guessing this is not said while going through airport security or stopping at a red light. All of these are the in best interest of the public and even the U.S. Supreme Court ruled checkpoints constitutional given the small amount time stopping motorists given the large benefit to society.

I was one of those volunteers at the very well run checkpoint on Bernal Ave May 5th. None of the cars going through the checkpoint were stopped for much more then 2 minutes unless they had an infraction and those were pulled off to the fair grounds parking lot so law abiding citizens could be on their way. Kudos to all the law enforcement agencies involved. Checkpoints not only detect impaired drivers, but also result in arrests for illegal weapons, drugs, stolen vehicles, and fugitives. Also, 87 percent of Americans surveyed say they support sobriety checkpoints to find and deter drunk drivers. Sixty-two percent would like sobriety checkpoints to be conducted more often.

My husband and I have been to multiple checkpoints since the death of our son. It is not because we enjoy working all day then staying up until 1 or 2 a.m to visit with law enforcement. It is because the stats are there that say high visibility checkpoints save lives. If I can help one parent from enduring the pain we have had since Matt was killed, that is enough reason. That was accomplished May 5th as one of those four drivers had his 3 year old child in the car. That child was quite possibly able to celebrate Mother's day because law enforcement chose to use highway grant monies in such a way.

Please go to MADD's national web site; www.madd.org to contact your local legislator letting him/her know of your support of AB 2784 calling for ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. The Klotzbach family was "stopped it our tracks", July 29th, 2001 when a DUI offender thought he had a right to drive after enjoying a few beers, despite having been convicted before and an alcohol ignition interlock device would have prevented him from driving his car. With frequent checkpoints and interlocks for drunk drivers, repeated drunk driving will stop and so will the sensless pain of families everywhere.


Transportation Research Board of the National Academies. "Transportation Research Circular- 2005." P. 35 Web Link
Ibid.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on May 16, 2008 at 1:17 am

Hope the intoxicated driver with the 3 year old child in the vehicle was also charged with child endangerment. Some people just don't think....


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