Checkpoint yields only one arrest

first_img“That person wasn’t drunk,” he said. Federal funding administered by the state Office of Traffic Safety pays for checkpoints. The Highway Patrol holds its own stops periodically in communities just outside city limits. Cohen said deputies pass out fliers that list the potential costs of a drunk driving arrest – about $10,000 for legal fees, court costs and auto insurance increases. “The majority of people are happy we’re out there doing this,” he said. State grants also cover the costs of periodic saturation patrols where four two-man squad cars saturate a target area in search of drunk drivers. An eight-hour shift can deliver a dozen or so arrests, Arnold said. “We want people to know if you drive drunk in our community, you have a good chance of getting arrested,” he said. “Our goal is not arrest-oriented. Our goal is to reduce people out there drinking and driving.” [email protected] (661) 257-5251 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA CLARITA – Nearly 1,000 motorists were stopped at a recent sobriety checkpoint in Newhall, and just one suspected drunk driver was arrested. To sheriff’s Sgt. Rich Cohen, a checkpoint coordinator, the evening was a success. “We’re obviously looking for drunks, but we’re educating people at the same time to let them know we’re looking for drunk people,” Cohen said. “Next time they have a few drinks, they’ll think twice because we might be out there.” Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies plan their next monthly checkpoint from 7p.m. Friday to 3a.m. Saturday somewhere in the city. Deputy Tony Arnold picks the location – and keeps it secret even from his colleagues until it’s time to hit the street. “I choose the locations based on DUI activity in that area, the number of arrests, crashes, any factors that show where a good place might be,” Arnold said. Checkpoints are typically on heavily trafficked streets – the last was on Lyons Avenue just east of Interstate5 – and require a 1,200-foot-long stretch to ensure room for traffic to back up and signs be posted, Arnold said. State law also requires there be an “escape route,” a street to turn onto to avoid the stop. Deputies do monitor those turn-arounds just in case a drunk driver takes advantage, Arnold said. “If they turn over a double-double yellow line or make an illegal U-turn, we’ll keep an eye on them. We don’t care if people get out of our checkpoint, as long as they are driving in a safe fashion.” One motorist a year ago turned to avoid the stop but hit a motorist who in turn hit a deputy’s motorcycle, which careened into a second on-duty motorcycle. last_img

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