Cops Use “Dial-a-Drunk” to Justify Illegal Search
I’ve commented in the past about the so-called Dial-a-Drunk anonymous hot-lines, often labelled "REDDI" ("Report Every Drunk Driver Immediately") lines, advertised all over our highways. (See Dial-a-Drunk: DUI Vigilantes Are Watching You and Dial-a-DUI Proving Useless.) I mentioned that by using this convenient line, you can with complete anonymity report your favorite enemy or ex-spouse for DUI, resulting in a traffic stop, interrogation, field sobriety tests and possible arrest. It didn’t occur to me at the time that it could be a very convenient tool for the police as well…..
Wyoming: Bogus DUI Report Used to Seize $3.3 Million
A Wyoming Highway Patrol officer is fired for calling in a fake DUI report in order to stop and search a pickup truck.
Casper, WY. Nov. 12 – A Wyoming State Trooper called in a false tip to an anonymous driving under the influence (DUI) hotline so that he would have an excuse to pull over and search a vehicle known to be carrying a large amount of cash. The April 7 bogus report has sparked controversy and led to the highway patrol firing Trooper Ben Peech, 36, last week. Federal officials told the Casper Star-Tribune newspaper that the fraud will have no impact on their efforts to keep $3.3 million in seized cash during the traffic stop.
The call, and a second fake DUI report from a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent, gave Peech an excuse to be out on Interstate 80 at 3am. He was on the hunt for a silver Dodge pickup truck carrying a driver and a DEA informant who let it be known that the vehicle carried eight suitcases stuffed with cash. Peech found the truck, performed the search and found the suitcases. No charges were filed against the driver or passenger, but the money was taken.
Hmmm….I wonder how common this technique has become among law enforcement around the country? Or is some cop in Wyoming the only one to have thought of it?
(Thanks to Andre Campos.)