(KCPW News) DUI checkpoints could become a thing of the past in Utah. HB 140, sponsored by Republican Representative David Butterfield, repeals authorization for law enforcement to do police checkpoints for anything other than Amber Alerts, looking for fugitives and wildlife invasive species. Butterfield says officers should instead put their time and resources into saturation patrols, which he says are more effective at removing drunk drivers from highways. He adds that checkpoints subject citizens to suspicion-less searches.
“There’s no reasonable suspicion, there’s no probable cause there. I think this bill more effectively balances that very careful balance between protecting constitutional and civil liberties and effective law enforcement,” he tells KCPW.
But Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder says checkpoints are structured in a way that don’t compromise constitutional rights. He adds the idea that checkpoints have no value because they result in fewer arrests than random patrols is outrageous.
“If you overcome the hurdle of constitutionality and then you want to argue about effectiveness, than deterrent versus arrest has to come into the total equation, right? I’m a big deterrent guy, I’d rather not fill up the jails. I don’t want to arrest you. I’d rather have you be scared and stay home,” Winder says.
Sheriff Winder says patrols and checkpoints are equally effective tools for different purposes. HB 140 passed out of the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee on an 8-to-5 vote Friday.
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