Archive for Thursday, August 26, 2004

Local weekend sobriety checkpoint produces no arrests

August 26, 2004

A weekend sobriety checkpoint may have failed to yield any arrests, but that's not necessarily a bad thing for police. Between 11 p.m. Friday and 3 a.m. Saturday, 167 cars passed through the checkpoint in the 1400 block of Church Street, where Eudora police officers didn't arrest any drunken drivers.
"It's good to know on that particular night there weren't that many drivers out drinking," said Police Chief Greg Dahlem.
The chief joked that the bad news about no arrests was losing a casual bet he had with officers in Lawrence, who recently ran a saturation patrol there. Ordinarily, Eudora officers netted quite a few drunk drivers for a town Eudora's size, Dahlem said.
"I thought we'd beat them handsdown," he said.
Officers did arrest one drunk driver Friday night, although it was in the 1000 block of Main Street not at the checkpoint. The 25-year-old woman was also arrested for child endangerment, having left her 1-year-old at home alone.
At the checkpoint, Dahlem said officers did field tests on one driver, who was released. Another driver made a U-turn at 15th and Church Streets to avoid the checkpoint because the driver wasn't carrying a driver's license.
The chief praised several of the officers whom he said were particularly good at detecting impaired drivers, who usually gave themselves away to officers in four or five seconds.
"I think gradually the word has spread that if you're going to drink and drive, don't come through Eudora, because you're going to get arrested," Dahlem said.
The department chose 14th and Church streets because of its access to Kansas Highway 10 and because it was one of the main roads in town. Eudora was a crossroads between drinking establishments in Lawrence, rural Lawrence and Linwood, Dahlem said. Moreover, the 1400 block of Church Street provided ample room for officers to conduct field tests, such as having drivers walk a straight line.
Sobriety checkpoints, like driver's license checkpoints, also provided officers with a chance to make warrant arrests on people who otherwise wouldn't be caught for speeding or other violations, Dahlem said.
Sobriety checkpoints were somewhat of a deterrent, the chief said, but also could offer reassurance to the community that there weren't a lot of people on the road who had been drinking, or if they had been drinking they had someone else driving.
"In a way it's good to know you don't have a lot of that," Dahlem said.

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