DWI Roadblocks: Where Even a Complete Failure Can Be Called a "Police Success" by Mark Stevens 603-893-0074

Well the summertime trampling of your Rights by the ever-growing number of DWI roadblocks is in full swing. Usually the police trumpet success in these matters when they find a couple of allegedly impaired drivers, along with the usual flotsam and jetsam of petty motor vehicle violations like people driving on an expired license, an expired inspection sticker, and a medley of other offenses that have no impact on public safety: license suspensions for failure to pay a speeding ticket, out of date vehicle registrations and the like. These petty offenses are usually part of the calculus for the morning headline: "DWI Roadblock Nets X Number of Arrests". Subsumed within that number of arrests though are all the petty motor vehicle equipment violations I just mentioned.

Here's a new one: police in York, Maine have announced that not catching any one in a DWI roadblock is a success too! Hey why not? These massive road-blocking efforts are paid for by the federal government so it's almost like they're free right? But is giving up your right to be free from random, warrantless searches and seizures really free? Of course not. So look at the trade-off: you forfeit your right to be free from random, suspicionless searches so the roads will be safe? Not really because these massive privacy intrusions don't work at catching drunks. So if you're giving something up, and you're getting nothing in return, would you call this zero-per cent effective roadblock a "success"? Probably only if you wanted another federal grant for another "free" roadblock and had no DWI arrests to show from your last one.

Here's a link to a Seacoast Online story about this law enforcement success.


Have a safe weekend,

Mark Stevens

5 Manor Parkway
Salem, NH 03079




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