Misguided, but otherwise well-intentioned, law enforcement officials are bracing for the trivial amount of DUI arrests they will make at sobriety checkpoints around Ohio this weekend. Just as Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer holiday travel, various police departments will over-staff high-visibility checkpoints. This financial ritual is funded by federal dollars. It begs the question -- if sobriety checkpoints are so effective, why do they seem to crop up only around holiday weekends and with federal funding? Why not every weekend with local dollars?
However, a few police departments are figuring out how to truly target DUI -- mobile DUI command stations known as BAT Mobiles - Breath Alcohol Testing mobiles. Saturation patrols in a high drinking area (like Bethel Road or the Arena District in Columbus) would do more, much more, to deter intoxicated people from getting into their cars. If you walk out of the bar in one of these entertainment areas and see cruiser after cruiser, won't you think twice about driving? Now, what if you walked out and these officers were not present but were 5 miles away at a key intersection manning a checkpoint?
What is more important -- deterring DUI or catching DUI? Doesn't a saturation patrol do both whereas sobriety checkpoints barely do either?