Summit County, Ohio sheriff believes roadblocks ineffective and unconstitutional but sets them up in return for $175,000 in DUI grants.
The Summit County, Ohio sheriff believes roadblocks are unconstitutional and ineffective in fighting drunk driving -- except when the roadblocks come with cash. Sheriff Drew Alexander will accept $175,000 in state grants, usually paid for with federal gas tax dollars, that the state will only offer to law enforcement agencies that agree to set up roadblocks. The Akron Beacon Journal newspaper asked Alexander if he thought roadblocks violated the Fourth Amendment.
"I do," Sheriff Alexander responded.
Roadblocks are becoming more and more frequent in Ohio. Last year 68,656 motorists suspected of no wrongdoing were stopped and interrogated. In just the first eleven months of this year, 117,858 innocent motorists were detained. The Journal cited Ohio statistics that showed traditional police patrols catch drunk drivers five times more effectively than roadblocks. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court similarly found that 99.3 percent of those stopped at roadblocks were completely innocent and that it took 53 percent more manpower to effect an arrest at a roadblock than with the less-intrusive roaming patrols.
Sheriff Alexander expects to have the first DUI roadblock running by December 20.
Source: Sheriff wins state grant for sobriety checkpoints (Akron Beacon Journal (OH), 11/30/2007)
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