Why announce DUI checkpoints?

WEST HARTFORD — — The police department will set up a driving-under-the-influence checkpoint Friday evening in the area of New Britain Avenue and Shield Street, department officials said. Police plan to run the checkpoint between 6 p.m. Friday and 2 a.m. Saturday.

This little blurb is in today’s Courant, clearly the result of a press release. Why is it announced ahead of time? I suppose most drunks don’t think about how to avoid the cops, but surely some on the margin will do just that. I remember in much younger days giving some thought when driving home from the local watering hole as to which route would be least likely to have police along the way. Who exactly is helped by this practice and how come it’s done?

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30 Comments

Filed under DUI, police, Public safety

30 responses to “Why announce DUI checkpoints?

  1. Bobby Sue

    Police fund the checkpoints through government grants. The government requires them to give notice so that the government isn’t funding targeted checkpoints (example: cops decide to sit outside bar frequented by day laborers). Police cut out the notice and include it when a package they send to the gov’t to get their OT. You do not have to give out a specific intersection, however, “in the area of” covers it.

  2. theconstantcurmudgeon

    I don’t get it. Why do police departments publish the sites of their checkpoints. Drunks do read just like everyone else and if they don’t read, I would guess they communicate with people who do read.

    The point is to charge people with drunken driving and to get them off the road. Not give them instructions as to how to avoid arrest.

    There is no way I will ever understand the logic of this policy. But then there is so little I understand about bureaucratic pursuits.

    • WHRes

      Have you ever gone out to dinner and had two drinks (wine,beer)? Than you are are a “drunk” as you like to call people. The standard set for a DUI can be hit with as little as that.

  3. Joe Visconti

    Will Joe Verrengia be participating in this checkpoint friday and saturday? If so, I may need to avoid that route!!!

  4. JTS

    Joe – your alternative, provided you’re taking suggestions, would be to not drink and drive. Just throwing it out there.

  5. Joe Visconti

    It’s a joke, sheeesh, anyway with all these tax increases how does one not drink, and who can afford the gas to drive????????

  6. Thanks for the info Bobby Sue. Your explanation makes sense.

    I guess the actual printing of it is probably not a big deal anyway since not everyone reads the Courant. In fact, stats show a major decline in print readership.

    But it will be interesting to see if they make any arrests. I wonder if they’ll publish the results to show the benefit of the DUI check.

  7. MADD Parent

    I wasn’t aware that West Hartford police ever bothered to enforce the traffic laws in West Hartford. For example, I have lived here for over six years and I’ve never seen one issuing a speeding ticket. And their failure to act clearly isn’t due to the lack of self-absorbed drivers racing through our neighborhoods risking the lives of our children.

    So go get ‘um West Hartford police. I just hope Dunken’ Donuts can afford the hit to their bottom-line.

  8. EJ

    Madd, why not add Stop signs and cell phones to the list.

    They could probably balance the budget on just these 3 items.
    Hell, they could probably cut the mil rate if they even partially enforced traffic laws

  9. itnocsiV eoJ

    The Police in West Hartford are the best and most courteous. Ever been to Hartford to sample their finest? They don’t compare.
    If you see someone speeding get their license plate number, pull over if your driving and call the West Hartford Police with the time of day of the event, direction and route they sped off to.

    Have a nice day

  10. WH return

    don’t know what to say other than I got a speeding ticket in March.

  11. turtle

    The West Hartford Police have the best product at Celebrate West Hartford.

  12. Disorderly Dad

    WH return, it’s encouraging to hear that someone in this Town has actually faced the consequences of their illegal actions on our streets. But I take issue with itnocsiV eoJ’s (why in the world are you spelling your name backwards) portrayal as the “…best and most courteous…”

    After WH return (or one of his pin-head friends) went speeding by my family while we were on a walk recently–right in front of a policeman who was watching this unambiguous display of a wanton disregard for our speed limits–this lazy public servant (whose salary I’m helping to fund) pulled over and threatened to arrest me for disorderly conduct for complaining about his lack of action.

    The only positive thing that came out of this exchange was his explanation that one of the primary reasons West Hartford police are so nonchalant about speeding is that none of the fines go to the Town; all of the revenue goes to the State. Does anyone know if this is true?

    But without regard to whether this is true or not, I agree with the premise underlying MADD Parent’s comment that it’s high time that the police in this Town pull their fat a**es of their stools at the doughnut shops and start enforcing the speed limits in this Town.

  13. Rick Liftig

    Yup – it’s true.

  14. Lil P.

    The state gets it all. That’s one big reason that police departments across the state hand out so few traffic tickets. For the life of me, I don’t know why the state doesn’t divvy it up 50-50 since it would almost certainly get much more revenue than it does now — and our streets would be safer.
    Personally, I think they ought to double speeding fines on residential streets. I don’t really care that everyone goes 70 on I-84, when they can move at all, but going 15 miles an hour over the limit on little quiet West Hartford streets is appalling.

  15. As a parent in this town, I have to agree with a lot of points that have been made above. So this post will be a mixed bag. First, the WHPD as a group are very good people to deal with and the community service booth at Celebrate West Hartford is evidence of such (I appreciate the identification card program), and also the officers that show parents how to correctly put in children’s car seats and such. Community outreach is really fantastic and I’m glad that police are reaching out to young people directly so that they realize that they should be able to approach police officers with concerns or question and not fear them or avoid them – what have you.

    Also, to relate another story regarding their courtesy, one officer had his vehicle parked near a crowded sawhorse at the Memorial Day parade, after overhearing some folks mention something about the heat radiating off the police car, the officer – on his own accord – moved the police car away from the barrier and returned with a smile and asked the crowd “is that better?” Now, tell me – where do you find such consideration and polite behavior from any police department representative?

    Someone mentioned Hartford Police above. Yeah, different experiences all together – even for me as shirt and tie type working in the city. I don’t know whether its the city or their experiences that harden them or what it is. But, I’ve experienced very different behaviors all together. Simple questions can get you rude and crass replies. Very unfortunate. It must have an impact on how people in the community view them despite the fact that they [HPD] put their lives on the line and often deal with some very serious issues.

    Now on the other hand, I have to agree that there is a major speeding problem on residential streets in this town. Major! And even if you write down the license plate and call the WHPD, they will not do anything about it. I recognize that there are hundreds of streets in town. But I’d really like to see far more patroliing day and night, and ticket issuance pushed to the max in residential areas. No joke, its a common sight to see people driving a reckless 80 mph on my street – which is a neighborhood full of playing children.

    And what’s worse is that many, but not all, are repeat offenders. Music blarring (another sore topic with me anyway) and NASCAR speeds make for a deadly combination – not to mention that the stop signs only slow them down to 40 mph but are generally ignored. I’m surprised more kids haven’t been killed.

    This is something that WHPD could really improve on. Keep on with the DUI checks though and keep communicating with our young people – that’s great mileage for the future.

  16. Joe Visconti

    So speeding is the real concern of most here, then it’s time to talk to Art Spada, I believe Art heads the public safety committe on the Town Council. I will email him, can everyone else do likewise? Lets see if he can work with Mr. Strillacci to ramp up the fines.

  17. Joe, while you’re emailing him, ask him to ramp up the fines on cell phone use in the car – and get the WHPD to start ticketing. Talk about swerving idiots not watching the road!

    If West Hartford profits from the revenue from these tickets, we could be building a huge war chest.

    In the day of cheap headsets and wireless earphones, we should be handing handset users $300 fines. Amen!

  18. Joe Visconti

    Art let me know he will be discussing enforcement strategies with the Police department and other traffic calming options with the traffic engineer. Let’s give him a chance.

  19. Nervous WH Driver

    I know West Hartford isn’t Texas. And there were probably other factors involved that lead to this tragic event.

    But as I was reading this story today, I couldn’t help wondering if the anger expressed in the comments to this post–prompted by parent’s legitimate concerns for the safety of their children– has the potential to boil over in West Hartford in this same ugly way.

    See Texas mob kills passenger after car strikes child

    This could never happen in West Hartford, right? With the possible exception of Disorderly Dad, I trust we’re all more civilized than this?

  20. Joe Visconti

    Hey Disorderly dad I haven’t seen a West Hartford Police cruiser at any dunkin donuts in years, most of our cops are in great shape. Contrary to your experience that fateful day on your walk, I know they will respond if you or yours are in danger so please lighten up man.

  21. EJ

    Joe, they use the drive up window now and unmarked cars.

  22. Nervous,

    I really doubt that this would happen in West Hartford. The whole mob thing seems almost unreal. The idea that a group of strangers would beat a man to death is mind-boggling. But I think it has little to do with Texas, I guess such a thing could happen any place. I could see it happening perhaps (and I’m sure this will get me in trouble with the PC Gods on here) in a place where someone of one race/ethnicity ran down a child of another race/ethnicity in a location where that race/ethnicity was prevelent AND race/ethnicty tensions were high due to some recent antagonistic event – police beating or something along those lines. Again, that’s a stretch, but I could SEE that happening – its not a justification for such a thing happening.

    But I can also tell you – with all honesty – that if I witnessed my own child being run down (i.e. killed) by someone driving a vehicle – God help them. I can’t say that my mental state would allow for civility, and I’m not even a violent person. That is, if I would ever be able to overcome the shock and sadness to function.

    God bless anyone who has those kinds of patience to logically rationalize it all away as happenstance. I can just bet that that wouldn’t be me.

  23. Less Disorderly Dad

    Being told to “…lighten up…” about this subject by someone who has so liberally flamed others on this blog (e.g., “…Education Cartel mules like you…”) has caused me to reconsider my use of the unfair stereotype in my first comment. I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended.

    But please don’t lose sight of the point I was trying to make. Since the crime rate in West Hartford is so low (when was the last time we had a murder in this Town?), I was functioning under the impression that our police force isn’t so overworked that they don’t have the time to enforce the speed limits in this Town.

    But then I see that Senator Harrison has touched on this point in an article in the Courant this morning wherein he advocates the installation of speed cameras on Route 44:

    …As the former mayor of West Hartford, I’ve seen firsthand the problems that occur when police officers have other law enforcement duties to perform and can’t devote enough time to speed enforcement. And as we work to control our property tax burden, we can’t afford the number of police necessary to effect real change in bad driving habits
    See Can Snapshots Make Roads Safer?

    So am I wrong about the Barney Fife life I thought most West Hartford cops enjoyed in this Town? If so, when can I install a speed camera on my block? I’d be more than happy to pay for it.

  24. Disorderly Dad

    Being told to “…lighten up…” about this subject by someone who has so liberally flamed others on this blog (e.g., “…Education Cartel mules like you…”) has caused me to reconsider my use of the unfair stereotype in my first comment. I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended.

    But please don’t lose sight of the point I was trying to make. Since the crime rate in West Hartford is so low (when was the last time we had a murder in this Town?), I was functioning under the impression that our police aren’t so overworked that they don’t have the time to enforce the speed limits in this Town.

    But then I see that Senator Harrison has touched on this point in an article in the Courant this morning wherein he advocates the installation of speed cameras on Route 44:

    “…As the former mayor of West Hartford, I’ve seen firsthand the problems that occur when police officers have other law enforcement duties to perform and can’t devote enough time to speed enforcement. And as we work to control our property tax burden, we can’t afford the number of police necessary to effect real change in bad driving habits…”
    See Can Snapshots Make Roads Safer?

    So am I wrong about the Barney Fife life I thought most West Hartford cops enjoyed in this Town? If so, when can I install a speed camera on my block? I’d be more than happy to pay for it.

  25. Disorderly Dad

    Being told to “…lighten up…” about this subject by someone who has so liberally flamed others on this blog (e.g., “…Education Cartel mules like you…”) has caused me to reconsider my use of the unfair stereotype in my first comment. I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended.

    But please don’t lose sight of the point I was trying to make. Since the crime rate in West Hartford is so low (when was the last time we had a murder in this Town?), I was functioning under the impression that our police aren’t so overworked that they don’t have the time to enforce the speed limits.

    But then I see that Senator Harrison has touched on this point in an article in the Courant this morning wherein he advocates the installation of speed cameras on Route 44:

    “…As the former mayor of West Hartford, I’ve seen firsthand the problems that occur when police officers have other law enforcement duties to perform and can’t devote enough time to speed enforcement. And as we work to control our property tax burden, we can’t afford the number of police necessary to effect real change in bad driving habits…”
    See Can Snapshots Make Roads Safer?

    So am I wrong about the Barney Fife life I thought most West Hartford cops enjoyed in this Town? If so, when can I install a speed camera on my block? I’d be more than happy to pay for it.

  26. Fred

    Have you ever noticed that the majority of our police dept.checkpoints (of which a fair number of constitutional scholars believe are prima facia 4th amendment violations) tend to be at or near the Hartford city line. I used to watch out my office window when the police would check for seatbelt and emission stickers on exit 44 of of I84. It smacks of profiling, at least to me, on a socio-economic level. Why are there no checkpoints in the Center. With all of our restaurants, which serve alcohol, I would think that would be a rich area for mining drunks. But….

  27. Elmwoodian

    I live on a fairly main road and people barrel down it. However, I have nothing but praise for the PD in this town. We had two minor incidents happen near our house and let me tell you, those folks were all over it. The response time and the show of force was astounding (and most of them were pretty jacked; few donut-bellies on this squad).

    I was chatting an officer about a year ago and he told me that they are still fairly undermanned. Apparently it takes a long time to get a recruit trained and ready. So, I think we can cut them some slack on this issue.

    P.S. Count me as one who was flagged speeding in WH. (Just once! I’ve amended my ways!)

  28. anonman

    The majority of WHPD guys may be okay, but believe you me, there are some very rotten apples among this bunch as well. Disorderly Dad’s experience is in no way unique.

    Years ago the current patrol captain, formerly the head of community relations, flat out refused to allow me to file an excessive force and false report complaint. Yet this hypocritical slimeball got James Brewer disbarred and went on to sue him for damages. My understanding is he lost his case when Pattis brought in his insurance co. as co-defendants. A real lowlife this guy.

    Some may remember when a certain officer was fired years ago for beating a cuffed suspect (think his last name was Colon). He sued claiming discrimination and that the brass normally ignores complaints of this kind. No doubt this has been the case.

    Then there’s the Estes guy who had a 911 center worker held for psychological evaluation after he complained of low morale in the workplace. You can apparently be a real scumbag and still go far in this organization.

    With the type of ‘leadership’ I’ve seen at WHPD, my guess is even if you’re an ethical new recruit, you’ll become tainted by the despicable conduct of the higher-ups. The town residents could certainly do much better for the money. We’re paying upwards of $400 per year per household for the cops, and call me old fashioned, but I’d think we could get some honest, ethical professionals for that. Or at least some who aren’t such a high liability risk.

    If they can give someone the boot for stealing $30 worth of groceries, they could fire a good many more for much worse than that.

    There are bad people on most towns’ police forces, it’s a profession-wide epidemic really, but I should add that I’ve dealt with some very nice Hartford cops. You get pretty much the same assortment of characters in every police department. Some good, some not so good, some who should be strung up.

  29. When it comes to safety, it’s best to drive without the influence of alcohol. The point is having control in driving while drunk. If you could do this then it’s good. But still, the best thing to do is not be drunk while driving to avoid car accidents.

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