Tweeting DUI Checkpoints a Good Thing?


Frustrated with the public’s knowledge of the location of California DUI checkpoints, California law enforcement agencies have begun to conduct their checkpoints at unexpected locations at unexpected times.

How are people finding out these not-so-clandestine locations? Well I doubt it’s through the press releases that law enforcement issue. After all, teens and young adults aren’t rushing to their computers to get the skinny on law enforcement activities. They are, however, rushing to their Facebook and Twitter accounts to find out the latest in their friends’ personal lives. While they’re there, they can get live updates on the times and locations of California DUI checkpoints.

So who’s posting this info?

His name is Mr. Checkpoint, otherwise known as Sennett Devermont. And Mr. Checkpoint has made it his mission that the public knows about the times and locations of Southern California DUI checkpoints in counties such as Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego. On his Facebook page, website, and Twitter feed, which has 43,000 followers, Mr. Checkpoint posts DUI checkpoint alerts as soon as the information is available to him.

Not everyone is happy about it, and not surprisingly MADD has condemned Mr. Checkpoint’s efforts. Pat Rillera, executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving in L.A. and Ventura counties, told CBS8, “While we support the publication of checkpoints as a deterrent to drunk driving, sites like Mr. Checkpoint alert drunk drivers so they can evade arrest. It’s not meant as a positive.”

Mr. Checkpoint is currently in a lawsuit against the city of Santa Monica and Santa Monica officer Koby Arnold. Officer Arnold pulled Mr. Checkpoint over on suspicion of driving under the influence after Mr. Checkpoint refused to perform field sobriety tests. Although Mr. Checkpoint was, in fact, correct in his assertion that he was under no legal obligation to perform the field sobriety tests, he was, nonetheless, arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and his vehicle impounded. His dogs, which were in his car at the time, were taken to the Santa Monica Animal Shelter. A later blood test confirmed that Mr. Checkpoint was sober with no detectable amount of alcohol in his system. The audio of the arrest can be found here.

Coincidence? Maybe. Regardless of motivations behind Mr. Checkpoint’s campaign, the public should have a right to know where checkpoints might be. We are not obligated to drive through checkpoints. Nor are we obligated to be searched at checkpoints. Nor are we obligated to perform field sobriety tests.

Mr. Checkpoint’s Twitter account can be found here.

Mr. Checkpoint’s Facebook page can be found here.

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