Skip to comments.Indep. Police Stage Roadblock To Check Driver's Licenses
Posted on 07/19/2004 1:29:52 PM PDT by JOAT
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Police in Independence conducted a driver checkpoint on Thursday, but it wasn't to look for drunken drivers.
For about an hour Thursday afternoon, officers stopped vehicles to make sure drivers had valid licenses. But some are questioning the legality of holding such a checkpoint.
Independence police have arrested more than 1,300 drivers this year for driving without a valid license, KMBC's Jim Flink reported. On Thursday, police stopped about 300 drivers on a busy street.
Independence Officer Tom Gentry said drivers without licenses pose a safety concern.
"It's a public safety issue. On public highways, you don't want illegal drivers out there who might pose a grave danger," he said.
But Gentry added there are other reasons for wanting to make the stops.
"People who don't bother to get their driver's license or get them renewed -- usually that's an indicator of other problems as well," Gentry said.
Independence officers issued 10 tickets on Thursday, and they also arrested four people on outstanding warrants and one person for possession of narcotics and drug paraphernalia.
But Dick Kurtenback, of the American Civil Liberties Union, said he's troubled by police stopping drivers for this type of search.
"This bothers me -- they're conducting general searches without probable cause," he said. "I think the problem there is they're changing some essential aspects of this country's character, and I think it's troublesome that they're doing that."
Kurtenbach said the searches may violate people's Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. Some drivers with whom Flink spoke agreed.
"For public safety, I think it's all right. But it does kind of bother me, in the sense that I think it's an invasion of my personal liberty," driver T.K. Shiao said.
But motorist Jan Huff-Soper thought police were doing the right thing.
"It sounds like they have a lot of people driving without licenses, and I would hope people driving out there would have valid licenses," she said.
Police said the number of arrests this year proves the roadblocks work. The police department is basing its use of checkpoints on a Supreme Court case that allows DUI roadblocks in the interest of public safety.
Kurtenbach said drivers without licenses aren't inherently dangerous, even if they are breaking the law.
Fishing expeditions like this are becoming increasingly common. Setting up roadblocks to see if they can discover a reason to charge people.
Good thing they didn't come across Mexican Matricula licenses... they could end up being sued for that...
This is where the drunk driving checkpoints lead. Thanks MADD and a curious coalition of conservative puritans and liberal nanny staters.
Why not check for proof of insurance? Uninsured motorists are a tremendous problem in this country, and other than making sure that a car is insured when it is registered, most counties don't do anything to crack down on this problem.
I rarely if ever agree with the ACLU ... but this time they are right ... "Your papers please" is NOT something I want to hear in my country ... no matter how many unlicensed drivers it yields
That's why it's a good day to drive drunk in Indep., MO today.
If the stated reason is lack of a valid driver's license, then any other evidence found or any other charge is inadmissible.
Next step; going into every home to see if anyone is breaking any laws. Law breakers could pose a danger to society, and safety is important to everyone. Why let lawbreakers out on to the roads where they could pose greater danger to others.
I'd be surprised if they didn't. Those are 'no problemo' señor!
Why not random late night house searches ... I sure that it would caught many instances of law breaking ... and I know as of late every Podunk town has a SWAT team that could use the exercise and the practice ... after all we have nothing to hide.
Hey why not? So long as it makes people FEEL safe.
It would be a great opportunity to check for code violations. Who knows what laws are being broken, BROKEN I say, in so many American homes?
Caught = catch
Fishing expeditions are illegal, and the Fed courts have consistently ruled that the roadblocks are legal only if they are directed towards one problem and not everything.
The article says they arrested one person for possession of 'drug paraphernalia,' so I'm guessing they searched vehicles whenever they thought they had a chance to catch a dangerous lawbreaker.
Actually, that was my point. Checking for driver's licenses is pointless--insurance would be LESS pointless, but still an unreasonable search, IMO.
The "if you haven't done anything wrong, you've got nothing to worry about" types are going to be our undoing.
Great line; "OUR FREEDOM IS MORE IMPORTANT THAT THEIR ROADBLOCKS BEING SUCCESSFUL"
That about says it all. How do these roadblocks promote freedom?
Replacing citizen criminals with the unlimited power and funding(from us)of a possible criminal government is one of the reasons for the 2d ammendment.
Liberal denial is propelling this country there.
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