DUI Survey — or Roadblock?

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on September 22nd, 2007

As if unconstitutional police "sobriety checkpoints" weren’t enough, we now have privately-run but police-enforced roadblocks:


Alcohol Surveys Spur Complaints

A motorist who was stopped wants a halt to voluntary testing that is so "persistent" it feels like a DUI checkpoint. 

Denver, CO.  Sept. 18  -  The Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office was apologizing Monday after a weekend effort to help a research group led to complaints about what appeared to be a DUI checkpoint – but wasn’t.

Sheriff’s officials who participated in the stops now acknowledge that the nonprofit organization requesting voluntary DUI and drug tests from drivers was overly persistent, according to complaints.

Sgt. Bob Enney said deputies assisted the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in stopping motorists at five sites along Colorado 119 for surveys on any drug and alcohol use. Surveyors then asked the motorists to voluntarily submit to tests of their breath, blood and saliva. At least 200 drivers were tested, Enney said. About five motorists later complained, he said.

Pacific Institute officials defended the initiative. They said the collection of vital statistics measuring, over time, the number of people driving under the influence helps gauge the impact of laws and enforcement policy changes.

"We’ve been literally surveying thousands of people," said John Lacey, the director of the Alcohol, Policy and Safety Research Center in Calverton, Md., through which Pacific Institute conducted its research. "So you can imagine if you stop people in the middle of the night, there will be complaints."…

Cathryn Hazouri, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, said the participation of sheriff’s officials and the blue jumpsuits worn by the survey team may have confused some of those who were stopped.


And what do you think those deputy sheriffs would have done if any of those motorists had tested positive or had alcohol on his breath?  And doesn’t that make it an unauthorized de facto police DUI roadblock?  So…If police can’t get authorization for a roadblock, why not just set up a "survey" roadblock?


(Thanks to David O’Shea and Jeanne M. Pruett.)

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