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April 18, 2014

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Police announce DUI checkpoints for holiday weekend

Metro Police announced today locations for two DUI checkpoints in Las Vegas over the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Police will operate the first checkpoint from 7 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday on Charleston Boulevard at Community College Drive in the northwest valley.

Authorities chose that location based on prior incidents in the area: 67 alcohol- or drug-related incidents, 31 accidents and 14 DUI arrests between Jan. 1 and June 1 this year, police said.

Later this weekend, police will stage a second checkpoint from 7 p.m. Sunday to 3 a.m. Monday on Paradise Road, just north of Tropicana Avenue near the Las Vegas Strip.

"Previous checkpoints at this location have been extremely successful in prior years," police said in a statement.

Police plan to place special emphasis on finding drugged drivers at the Paradise Road checkpoint because Drug Recognition Expert Officers will be evaluating drivers, officials said.

The events include officers from Metro, the Nevada Highway Patrol, North Las Vegas Police Department, Henderson Police Department and the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

A Joining Forces grant from the Nevada Department of Public Safety-Office of Traffic Safety partially funds the events.

Police plan to discuss the checkpoint initiatives at press conference Thursday morning.

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  1. Why why why do they tell the world where the checkpoints are going to be?!?!?!?!?!? This serves one purpose, and one purpose only -- it tells the drunk drivers where not to drive. One of the most inane things I've ever heard of, and they've been doing it as long as I've been in Vegas.

  2. People always ask "Why are they announced?"

    And the answer is that it is required in order not to violate the Fourth Amendment. Be glad they are forced to make these announcements.

  3. abostonboy must be one of those Tea Party folks who 'knows' their Constitution....

  4. They receive grant money for these operations and I suspect they don't spend it all on the checkpoints.

    There are now apps for smart phones to notify you of any checkpoints. Harry Reid is trying to stop those apps. I wish he would stop the checkpoints instead.

    I'm not defending drunk driving, I'm defending the constitution.

  5. Hey Jackie, you might to make it a standard practice to explain why these announcements are made since someone always asks.

  6. I still fail to understand why these are published in advance.

  7. Esquire,

    The reasoning is something like this.

    A checkpoint is basically a search. If they do not warn you in advance it can be considered a warrant-less search which is prohibited by the Fourth Amendment (unless done under the Patriot Act which is another debate.)

    By publishing these announcements, you have given your implied consent to be stopped and searched if you drive into a checkpoint, *whether or not you have seen the announcement*.

    Does that help?

  8. boftx: Neither NRS 484B.570 nor NRS 484B.573 appear to require that law enforcement announce checkpoints in the media prior to setting them up. Neither does the US Supreme Court's decision in Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990) (upholding the constitutionality of such stops) make such a requirement. Perhaps you have another theory?

  9. Esquire,

    Granted that using Wikipedia is not always the best choice, this article ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random_chec... ) has a reasonable explanation of the issue under the heading "Legal guidelines for checkpoint procedures."

    The article mentions the same case you do but gives more information on what Rehnquist wrote in his opinion. From the article:

    "In approving "properly conducted" checkpoints, Chief Justice Rehnquist implicitly acknowledged that there must be guidelines in order to avoid becoming overly intrusive. In other words, checkpoints cannot simply be set up when, where and how police officers choose. As often happens in Supreme Court decisions, however, the Chief Justice left it to the states to determine what those minimal safeguards must be, presumably to be reviewed by the courts on a case-by-case basis."

    More importantly, it references "...an earlier decision by the California Supreme Court (Ingersoll v. Palmer (43 Cal.3d 1321 (1987)) wherein the Court set forth what it felt to be necessary standards in planning and administering a sobriety checkpoint:"

    Those standards are:

    "Decision making must be at a supervisory level, rather than by officers in the field.

    A neutral formula must be used to select vehicles to be stopped, such as every vehicle or every third vehicle, rather than leaving it up the officer in the field.

    Primary consideration must be given to public and officer safety.

    The site should be selected by policy-making officials, based upon areas having a high incidence of drunk driving.

    Limitations on when the checkpoint is to be conducted and for how long, bearing in mind both effectiveness and intrusiveness.

    Warning lights and signs should be clearly visible.

    Length of detention of motorists should be minimized.

    Advance publicity is necessary to reduce the intrusiveness of the checkpoint and increase its deterrent effect."

    I would presume it it is the last standard in that list that is being addressed by these announcements.

  10. I always wondered about the pre-announcement of these check points; I figured it had something to do with illegal searches.

    However, Metro still nabs a lot of drunks at these checkpoints. Maybe their hope is that people are too stupid to pay attention when the checkpoints are announced...and they may be right about that!!

  11. The actual number of DUI arrests compared to the number of vehicles stopped and harassed is usually less than 1%.

    What they should release is the grant dollar amount given for this operation.

    We will see the DUI numbers sometime next week.