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How do law enforcement agencies announce when they will be doing DWI checkpoints?

Julian March
DWI checkpoint

A DWI checkpoint at Wrightsville beach. (StarNews file photo)

Law enforcement agencies are not required to notify the public when or where they are planning to set up checkpoints, said Sgt. Jerry Brewer, public information officer for the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office.

As far as the practice of giving advance notice, First Sgt. Jeff Gordon, the spokesman for the N.C. Highway Patrol, consulted an administrative of justice bulletin from the School of Government at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

The bulletin, dated September 2010, includes a section on whether officers must notify the public of a checkpoint.

“Some have argued that such publicity both helps to diminish the apprehension that drivers might otherwise feel upon encountering a checkpoint and serves to deter motor vehicle violations and that such publicity may therefore be desirable or even constitutionally required,” the bulletin states. “There are no North Carolina cases on point. Out-of-state cases generally conclude that advance notice is helpful but not mandatory. The checkpoint statute, of course, imposes no such requirement.”

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2 Responses to “ How do law enforcement agencies announce when they will be doing DWI checkpoints?”

  1. On January 6, 2012 at 5:04 pm Concerned Citizen wrote:

    Why would they even consider this? From the arrest numbers published today in the paper that would be shooting the state coffers in the foot. These cash cows are the effect that is intended, the weekend of the 17th they had checkpoints on most major thoroughfares in the New Hanover vicinity, I repeat almost EVERY one. If these were made known to the public they would find other means to get around on those evenings thus limiting the thousands of dollars brought into the state under the guise of public safety.

  2. On January 9, 2012 at 5:39 pm chaz wrote:

    It seem that the deterrent effect is minimized when there isn’t an announcement. Many states require a public announcement as to “when” but not “where.” When people are constantly reminded that the cops are out looking for drunk drivers by the announcement, it deters the illegal behavior. Without the announcements, some people are willing to take the chance. If the real purpose is to get our roads safer, they should announce when the checkpoints will occur. If it’s just to raise money through arrests, then they should keep business as usual.

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