DUI checkpoints are not really for DUI

I know that the articles that I am posting are a little old, but this one is revealing about the purpose of DUI checkpoints. These checkpoints are nominally put in place to “keep us safe” from drunk drivers. During the 2009 July 4th weekend in Gainseville, there were 1,131 vehicles stopped at the DUI checkpoint. How many DUI arrests were made? None. However, there were:

2 arrests for outstanding warrants
7 arrests for felony charges (6 of those for drugs)
1 arrest for misdemeanor charges
104 traffic tickets
20 warnings were written

In other words, 1% of the people stopped were arrested, and about 10% of them got tickets, and increased the coffers of the state treasury. These checkpoints are not about safety, they are about making an end run around the Constitution.

The police are not there to make us safe, they are there to take our money. I must admit that I have been the victim of a robbery once (when I was 19, the robber got $23) and I have been the victim of burglary twice (the burglars got a total of less than $500 worth of stuff).

The police have gotten far more than that from me, just in tickets, not counting the taxes I must pay to support them. How is an armed man stealing my money at gun point not stealing from me, simply because he wears a badge? Don’t tell me that if I wasn’t speeding that I wouldn’t get a ticket. There are enough laws out there that a cop can write you a ticket for nearly anything, and regardless of what they will have you believe, they DO have quotas, and they win prizes for writing tickets and busting people for DUI. Those prizes are in the form of cash awards and free vacations.

Welcome to the police state

The Florida Highway Patrol, like many other police agencies, uses a system called the Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) system. This system consists of cameras that can be mounted on patrol cars, like this:

or they can be mounted in fixed locations, like this:

They are connected to a computer network that automatically alerts authorities when a “plate of interest” passes by the camera. The plates that are captured are displayed on the car’s computer screen, and look like this:

According to the website of the manufacturer, each car equipped with this system can scan 5,000 license plates during an average police officer’s shift. The reason this is being sold to departments? Read on:

Long Beach police used two ALPR-equipped vehicles to search for parking scofflaws. In 30 days, they located and impounded more than 300 vehicles – collecting over $200,000 in delinquent fines and impound fees. A study done for the City of Seattle showed that parking ticket collection rates across municipalities vary from 71% to 87%, with 80% being the median – that’s a million dollars or more of uncollected revenue in each city. Searching for parking ticket violators isn’t the most productive use of an officer’s time, so locating serial violators has been left to chance: the officer would have to find the car as part of a routine plate check or another traffic stop.
With an ALPR system, the police vehicle only has to pass the violator – whether parked or in traffic – and ALPR will alert the officer. A quick drive through a large parking lot will often locate several serial violators, whose cars can be towed or clamped until the fines are paid. The end result is fewer scofflaws getting away with nonpayment of fines.

Sure, money is the reason they get the system, but there is also the more sinister applications:

Besides alerting the officer when he passes a vehicle of interest, an ALPR system equipped with GPS can quietly note the time and location the vehicle was passed. This data is then loaded into PIPS’ Back Office System Software (BOSS®) and then mined and cross-referenced to keep tabs on known drug dealers, terrorist suspects, organized crime figures, or crime patterns…Areas such as airports, seaports, water treatment facilities, nuclear power plants – even schools – are targets for both criminals and terrorists. ALPR can assist with protecting such facilities by watching for known persons of interest (such as registered sex offenders), unauthorized vehicles, or simply vehicles that show up too frequently.

The founding fathers of this nation would be thrilled.