Tell your friends not to drive by Rosita Park on Friday night!
“Officers may stop any vehicle at the checkpoint, which will be in the area of 1000 N. Newhope St., near Rosita Park. The checkpoint stops will begin at 7:30 p.m. and are scheduled to go until 1 a.m,” according to the O.C. Register.
If you think that these checkpoints are about stopping drunks, you are wrong. Too often these tactics are used to seize cars drive by immigrants and others who are unlicensed drivers.
To do this in Santa Ana, right now, while the U.S. Census is trying to conduct its 2010 Census, is ridiculous!
According to an O.C. Register Watchdog report, 79% of those arrested at SAPD DUI checkpoints are Latinos. And get this – the SAPD impounds, on average, 4.5 cars for every drunk driver they catch!
Overall, the SAPD reported to the Register that they have impounded 504 cars and arrested 112 drivers for DUI.
The SAPD has impounded more cars than any other city in Orange County.
Here’s my question – is this really the best place to conduct a DUI checkpoint if you are trying to catch drunk drivers – right in the middle of a working class neighborhood?
Why not set up the DUI in our downtown area, near some of the bars, like the Memphis or Proof, or over by Mike Harrah’s bar, Original Mikes? Won’t that net more drunk drivers?
Do these car impounds help working families who are struggling to survive? No way! “In 2009, impounds at checkpoints generated some $40 million in towing fees and police fines (revenue that cities divide with towing firms). Police officers received about $30 million in overtime pay for the DUI crackdowns, the investigation found,” according to the O.C. Register.
“The seizures appear to defy a 2005 federal appellate court ruling that determined police cannot impound cars solely because the driver is unlicensed,” according to the O.C. Register.
If you would like to communicate your feelings about this to the SAPD, click here. Click here to contact the all-Latino Santa Ana City Council. You can contact City Manager Dave Ream’s assistant, Mark Lawrence, at MLawrence@santa-ana.org.
Assemblyman Jose Solorio acted right away, contacting Chief Walters and asking for a meeting today. Thank you Assemblyman Solorio!
Congresswoman Sanchez’ office felt that this was not a federal issue, despite the obvious impact on the multi-billion dollar federal project that is the 2010 Census. Click here: to email Congresswoman Sanchez and remind her that the Census is indeed a federal issue. Here is her response:
Thanks for your email. Guidelines and funding for police DUI checkpoints are usually established by state agencies and local police departments. The federal government does not fund these nor have jurisdiction. It is my understanding that drivers are stopped using a random formula and asked for a driver’s license, which seems to be a routine occurrence when you are stopped by an officer.
I really cannot speak as to the effect this checkpoint would have on the census count.
I believe we both share the same concern for ensuring that everyone is counted in the 2010 Census and I would welcome your support in helping reach out to all of our communities to ensure that the process is accurate as possible.
The agencies conducting these checkpoints would be your best sources to address your concerns.