Local police departments recently released statements concerning increased patrols in Kosciusko County during the holiday season. New Year’s celebrations are often coupled with alcohol, giving officers everywhere a reason to be extra watchful of drivers during these times.
Warsaw Police Department Officer Lt. Kip Schuter spoke on the phone to give a little more insight into how Operation Pull Over and DUI checkpoints work.
First, a grant called Operation Pull Over pays for the extra time and manpower spent by local officers. The amount of DUI checkpoints and increased patrols directly correlates to this funding, and how much is granted to each department.
Many local residents may not understand a local DUI checkpoint enforcement team is held accountable by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has put forth a set of laws for each officer to follow in the execution of DUI checkpoints. Drivers are required to show a valid license for operating a motor vehicle, and must also provide the registration of their vehicle.
Applicable to all situations, regular pullovers or DUI checkpoints, local police ask each driver honestly answers questions asked, which will usually consist of where a driver is coming from or going to. Drivers are not legally required to answer these questions. Police ask these questions after a standard pullover usually because something in their driving indicated possible intoxication.
Some flags are: running stop signs or stop lights, swerving or going above or below the standard rate of speed. By refusing to answer questions, drivers may send a red flag to an officer.
Although Kosciusko County does not have any scheduled checkpoints for this holiday season currently, there are some rules and regulations to be aware of.
The Supreme Court legally requires DUI checkpoint dates and times are published within the county. The exact location of each checkpoint is not published. Each location is determined by where the most DUI arrests or DUI-related accidents have occurred. For example, a July crash in North Webster led to the death of one driver and was believed to be caused by the other driver’s intoxicated state. This location was the most recent site of a DUI checkpoint. Also, if a large number of DUI arrests have occurred in one area, there is a good chance a checkpoint will be set up there in the future.
As to who makes it into each checkpoint for questioning, Schuter said the cars flagged in are random, in a sense. The police department uses a formula to keep vehicles randomly coming in, and he said there is a noticeable increase in numbers of DUI arrests by using this method. Although officers can flag you in for questioning, they can only legally detain you for up to two minutes.
The best rule to follow, according to Schuter, is to just be polite and respectful. “The point of patrols is to get impaired drivers off the roadway so they don’t injure or kill others … if you already have an attitude, then we will probably have an attitude back.”