[UPDATED with Adenhart Crash Victim's Two Cents:] Fullerton Poised to End Sobriety Checkpoints as Labor Day Ops Continue

See the update at the end of this post about the Mother's Against Drunk Driving push back and a victim of the Fullerton crash that killed Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart addressing the council.

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ORIGINAL POST, AUG. 27, 3:29 P.M.: From 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 17 through midnight Friday, Aug. 24, 310 people have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs through the first half of stepped up sobriety patrols, stings and checkpoints that continue through Labor Day, according to Orange County's "Avoid the 38" DUI Task Force. But there is also word that one OC city is reevaluating its role in these operations. Will the task force that takes its number from the 38 participating law enforcement agencies have to change its name to "Avoid the 37?"

The question is posed because reformers who joined the Fullerton City Council after June's recall election spurred by the cop murder of homeless man Kelly Thomas have championed other issues beyond cleaning up the police department. Among them: outlawing sobriety checkpoints.

Kiger: checkpoint foe
The council last week voted to return $50,000 in grants to the Fullerton Police Department for DUI checkpoints and other enforcement by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Returning the funds was pushed by Councilman Travis Kiger, a tech business owner, former planning commissioner and Friends for Fullerton's Future blogger who was elected to the council in June alongside Doug Chaffee and Greg Sebourn.

Kiger has maintained for years that DUI checkpoints deny citizens their constitutional right to move around unimpeded, and he's critical of officers receiving time-and-a-half to work them.

Now councilman Sebourn and Bruce Whitaker, who was critical of the police department and the Kelly Thomas incident before and since the recall election, joined Kiger in voting down the funds.

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Flory: this is nuts!
One candidate for the next Fullerton City Council race that will have Kiger defending his seat is already trying to make political hay out of the DUI checkpoint vote. Attorney Jan Flory, who calls Kiger, Sebourn and Whitaker "our Tea Party council members," finds the move idiotic.

"You think there might be a reason for checkpoints in a town with 51 bars? Duh!" Flory writes on her campaign's Facebook page.

Flory counters the operations help educate the public about the dangers of drinking and driving, while encouraging those filling the town's 51 bars to use a taxi or designated driver to get home safely. She also takes issue with the council majority failing to solicit the thoughts of the police department before voting down the funding.

We warned you about the current "Avoid the 38" campaign Friday morning . . .

Buena Park Checkpoint Tonight, Anaheim's is Saturday, Many Anti-DUI Ops til Labor Day

The task force reported today that the recent 310 arrests compares to 356 during the same eight-day time period in 2011--and that the 310 is based on provisional data as not all agencies have divulged their totals yet.

In addition to checkpoints and special saturation patrol, which continue this weekend (stay tuned to this blog), the Orange County Sheriff's Department ran a sting Friday at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.

Defendants with suspended driver's licenses because of a prior DUI citations and arrests were followed by plainclothes officers out to the courthouse's parking lot after their court proceedings and--if they got in a vehicle and drove away--they were pulled over and arrested on suspicion of driving on a suspended license. Their vehicles, which were towed from the scene, are now subject to 30-day holds.

One of the six arrestees was also held for an outstanding warrant. And, speaking of warrants, seven more people were arrested today at their South County homes on warrants for their alleged failing to appear on DUI citations, Avoid the 38 just announced.

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5 comments
Darvey
Darvey

Just think, if Courtney Stewart had driven through a checkpoint, they'd all be alive.

 

 

gottaknow247
gottaknow247

51 bars? Really? I've got to make this some sort of pilgrammage like visiting all of the major league ballparks.

DanChmielewski
DanChmielewski

The Supreme Court has already ruled DUI/DWI checkpoints are constitutional.  Settled law.

Chance.
Chance.

 @DanChmielewski 

 

No checkpoints is a good idea.  Saturation patrols are a great idea.  A vast majority of DUI's are caught by patrols, but that doesn't bring in the cash flow of impounding cars from unlicensed drivers.  

 

It is, or at least should be, common knowledge that checkpoint are set-up as impound fee cash grabs by police departments, not to catch intoxicated drivers.

 

It would be more accurate to say that the supreme court carved out an exception to the constitution for the checkpoints, saying that the safety of the population outweighed the individual rights granted by the constitution.  That is why police are supposed to give you an opportunity to avoid a check point as a way to assert your 5th amendment rights. 

 

From personal observation, police don't always follow the guidelines mandated by the constitution, as in not allowing the opportunity to 'turn-out' or advertising the checkpoint with enough detail and advance notice. 

ocweekly
ocweekly

There are lots of places on the Web to find current Orange County Checkpoint information.  Try www.bestocevents.com/checkpoints or www.ocduiblog.com

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