Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Critics say DUI and drivers license checkpoints are being used to impound cars and target undocumented immigrants. A California Assembly member has proposed to ban the practice.
SAN DIEGO Assemblyman Michael Allen of Santa Rosa wants to set strict rules for how police in California run DUI and license checkpoints.
The measure would require checkpoints to be on roads with a high rate of drunken driving arrests, not just any city street, or minority neighborhood. It would also forbid officers from impounding vehicles if they can be moved to a safe place or picked up by another licensed driver.
"The bill would require that the selection of the site of the checkpoint and the procedures for a checkpoint operation be determined by supervisory law enforcement personnel and that the law enforcement agency employ a neutral methodology for determining which vehicles to stop at the checkpoint or that all vehicles that drive through the checkpoint be stopped," reads the draft for bill AB 1389.
Allen, a Democrat, says he first heard about the issue when members of local churches echoed the fear of Latino and undocumented immigrant drivers whose cars were impounded for not having licenses.
The bill faces opposition from some law enforcement, who say it will tie their hands and make DUI arrests difficult.