How many cops does it take to bust a drunk driver? A whole lot of ’em if they’re running a checkpoint.
Last month we asked Chief Michael Sellers a few questions on recent DUI checkpoints in Fullerton. The stats that we got back lead to the conclusion that DUI checkpoints are just a handy bonus program for Fullerton cops, with little effect on public safety.
Back in March the Fullerton PD ran a 6 hour DUI checkpoint which employed sixteen police officers, each of them earning overtime pay — that’s 150% of their normal wage. At the end of the night, the police had nabbed only four motorists for driving under the influence. The city also impounded a dozen cars from unlicensed drivers, but that’s a whole different shakedown.
While hundreds of law-abiding drivers were being forced to stop and produce identification, patrons at downtown bars were spreading the word… intoxicated drivers should drive around the checkpoint on the way home.
So what is Chief Sellers’ excuse for such a blatant handout to his boys in blue?
The checkpoints are funded by state grants, says Sellers, as if that justifies any ‘ol squanderance that public employees can dream up. Around here, we call that “passing the buck”. It’s still our money, Chief, and we don’t want to fund overtime for your officers if they can’t be effective.
No local program should operate just because the state says it can. This is California, after all — a state renowned for it’s fiscal irresponsibility and zealous over-governance. Sixteen public safety employees on overtime without any significant accomplishments might slide under the radar in Sacramento, but we have higher expectations of our local agencies.
There will be another DUI checkpoint on tonight along Commonwealth in downtown Fullerton.