On October 27th, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that over 90 Pennsylvania State Troopers and local police had conducted the largest DUI checkpoint operation ever in Pennsylvania the night before. A careful reading of the article however reveals the alleged ‘DUI’ checkpoint was nothing more than a suspicionless general purpose dragnet enforcement operation.
After more than 12 years without conducting a single suspicionless checkpoint in Tucson, Arizona, the Tucson Police Department finally caved-in to temptation and jumped on the suspicionless checkpoint gravy-train in late October.
Selected photos from Southern Arizona’s State Route 86 between September and October 2007 are now available.
Enforcement activity over the past few months has been steady with Wackenhut immigration buses seemingly everywhere:
So I’m driving back to Tucson along SR-86 near mile marker 140 in Southern Arizona this past Friday, minding my own business, when I look in my side-view mirror only to see a silver four door sedan tailgating me.
Figuring the guy was in a hurry, I gradually slowed down from the posted 65 mph speed limit to allow the driver ample opportunity to safely pass me on the left. Even though the other lane was clear and several vehicles took advantage of the opportunity to pass both of us, the driver chose to continue tailgating me for the next ten miles.
The Newspaper recently published an interesting article indicating at least some communities in Saint Louis County, Missouri are getting fed up with suspicionless police checkpoints designed to raise revenue rather than protect the traveling public.
This is a recurring theme I continue to see while researching roadblocks across the country. Local and State enforcement agencies are using public safety as a pretext for stopping drivers absent reasonable suspicion to fish for revenue generating traffic violations.
If that’s not bad enough, many of these same agencies apply to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for checkpoint funding used to pay for roadblock ops, including overtime pay for participating cops.
A story recently published in the Arizona Daily Star caught my attention the other night. Titled, “Blood draws by officers in DUI stops questioned“, the article indicates a recent victim of this barbaric police practice has filed a Notice of Claim with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.
The claim references a persistent blood infection, centered around the needle entry point, that still exists months after being forced to endure a blood draw by a minimally trained sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop under unsafe and unclean environmental conditions. A Notice of Claim is the first step necessary in order for an individual to file suit against a government official/agency in Arizona.
The article highlights a so-called motorcycle safety checkpoint that was conducted along Interstate I-84 on October 7, 2007 by the New York State Police, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, the Kent Police Dept., the East Fishkill Police Department and the Dept. of Motor Vehicles Field Investigations Unit.
While the stated purpose of the checkpoint was to increase motorcycle safety, it’s clear from reading the article, the operation was just another suspicionless dragnet fishing expedition designed to specifically target the biking public. It should also be noted the article referenced a seatbelt checkpoint being coordinated with the motorcycle checkpoint at the same time and in the same geographic area.
According to the Arizona Daily Star article included below, The Department of Homeland Security is temporarily backing off from plans to build a permanent suspicionless federal roadblock on a Southern Arizona highway.
Initially, the Border Patrol had proposed placing an interim four million dollar roadblock facility just North of Arivaca near kilometer post 50 on I-19. After a huge uproar from local residents and governing bodies, including the Pima County Board of Supervisors, the Border Patrol is now stating they will maintain their temporary facility near kilometer post 42 for the indefinite future while plans for a permanent facility are re-assessd.
I’ve included a link to the article below, along with the full text. While reading the article, keep the following points in mind:
A Missouri motorist who recorded a St. George cop’s threats to falsify charges against him in order to throw him in jail & teach him a lesson, is now being hounded & harrassed by other area cops after his videotape resulted in the first officer’s firing.
I first heard about Brett Darrow in 2006 while conducting online research regarding sobriety checkpoints. At the time, Brett was a 19 year old teenager who had already had a troubling run-in with an off duty cop who had assaulted him a year earlier. The cop, who turned out to be drunk at the time, lied about the incident and falsified charges that were later dropped by a grand jury. When Darrow threatened to sue for violations of his rights, the City of St. Louis settled to keep the lawsuit from going forward.
The controversy surrounding a proposed permanent Homeland Security checkpoint in Southern Arizona continues to grow as people begin to understand the true costs associated with such an installation. For background information, I first reported on this proposed checkpoint on July 6, 2007.