The deterrent effect of a sobriety checkpoint can never be measured, but Lee’s Summit police officials believe its latest check for intoxicated drivers yielded more intangible results than actual arrests for driving while intoxicated.
Four people out of 477 vehicles stopped were arrested on DWI charges during the late night hours of March 16 and the early morning hours of March 17 at a checkpoint conducted by Lee’s Summit police near S.W. Third Street and S.W. Noel Street. The checkpoint wasn’t far from downtown Lee’s Summit, where earlier in the day a parade and pub crawl was held.
“Anytime we can reduce the number of impaired drivers on the roadway, it keeps all motorists safer,” said LSPD Sgt. Chris Depue, a spokesman for the department. “Four arrests out of the (nearly) 480 they checked is within the normal range of what we would expect at a checkpoint.
“What we can never measure is the deterrent effect. People that were going to an establishment to consume alcohol may have heard, ‘hey they’re doing a checkpoint,’ and maybe people made better decisions about calling a cab, calling another ride, or designating a sober driver. The deterrent effect of how many people didn’t drink and drive that night we are never able to measure that, but we know that it happens. We have an impact, or an outreach, that goes beyond just how many physical people we arrested.”
LSPD officials also made 11 arrests on other charges during the checkpoint.
“Normally what we end up with there is warrant arrests after checking drivers through the computer,” Depue said of the varying ‘other’ charges. “We’ll end up with several warrant arrests. Occasionally, as part of the DWI arrest, we’ll end up searching the car possibly making a small drug arrest but the majority of those are going to be municipal warrants.”