There is no doubt checkpoints and saturation patrols unearth impaired drivers. However, it does come with a price (read below). For example, I have heard officer Zirpolo in court basically say that he considers most people are likely impaired when they see them driving in the early morning hours in Pacific Beach. Now, there is no doubt some truth to that. However, what does this mean? This means that if you are sober and it is Sat night and you are trying to find parking in Pacific beach. Drive a little slow while finding a parking spot, or drive just a tad off….and you will have lights behind you. It is something to think about when a good theory comes out in its practice.
Checkpoints Fifteen motorists were arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in or near a checkpoint in the Pacific Beach section of San Diego, a police officer said Sunday.
Fifteen vehicles were impounded during the checkpoint in the 2400 block of Grand Avenue that began at 11 p.m. Saturday and ended Sunday at 3 a.m., said San Diego police officer Mark McCullough.
McCullough said 1,022 vehicles passed through the checkpoint, with 689 of those vehicles being screened by officers.
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Here is some info on Pacific Beach DUI saturation patrols.
Law Enforcement is utilizing “Saturation Patrols” rather than sobriety checkpoints more often. It helps beef up police presence and ultimately brings in ample revenue due to increased traffic citations given. DUI saturation greatly affect the members of the impacted community both good and bad (and usually without their knowledge). An initial analysis of a good DUI defense is to find out whether the officer was on patrol as part of a DUI saturation detail.
So what exactly is a “DUI Saturation Patrol”?
Definition: Saturation patrols involve law enforcement deploying additional police officers to targeted roadways during select time periods to detect and apprehend impaired drivers.
Law Enforcement Perspective - Primary MIssion of Pacific Beach PB DUI Saturation Patrols: The primary focus for officers during Pacific Beach (PB) saturation patrols is to find impaired drivers by observing changes in driving behaviors. The behaviors most often assessed are: lane deviation, following too closely, and/or speeding (Greene, 2003). The intention of this heavier police presence is to increase motorists’ perception that they will be arrested if they drive drunk. Saturation patrols are legal and do not present many legal issues beyond those associated with routine traffic stops. Measured in arrests per working hour, these blanket patrols are viewed by some as the most effective method of apprehending drunken drivers (Greene, 2003). Many police departments favor them over sobriety checkpoints for their effectiveness, reduced staffing, and the comparative ease of operating saturation patrols.
Reality: In practice, DUI Saturation comes with a price for the people who live in the saturated community. This includes people who live in the Pacific Beach PB community (San Diego). Why? Because in Pacific Beach PB DUI saturation, investigations officers are looking to make a traffic stop for the slightest violation To them, that observation is their first sign of possible impairment. Instead of an objective analysis of their observations, EVERY action a vehicle makes outside the norm is possibly due to impairment. When they approach the drivers window, they are not going to contact the driver and note observations that may show impairment, but are approaching with a “tell me why you are NOT DUI” mentality. More drivers in Pacific Beach PB get detained and investigated when in most other instances they would not. Furthermore, Pacific Beach PB DUI saturation patrols result in more tickets for Pacific Beach PB drivers. The police will stop you for rolled stop signs, no seatbelt, a slight drift in the other lane, and other infractions that police may normally drive by in other community.
So what does this mean?: In exchange for less DUIs on the street, the citizens of Pacific Beach will have to endure more stops by police. More in the Pacific Beach PB community will have to go through DUI evaluation and Field Sobriety tests even when they are not impaired because the police are looking to arrest. While the saturation patrols are legal, the citizens of Pacific Beach PB will ultimately get more traffic tickets than other communities because the police are looking to stop you for the slightest traffic violation. That is the purpose those officers are on patrol that day….it is their mandate and mindset…to them it is their first clue to a DUI. This means the Pacific Beach PB community may be safer because more DUI drivers will be stopped….but at what price?
So, next time you are driving down Garnet and see a heavy police presence. Some of the officers are just on normal patrol….while others are there just looking for you to make the slightest traffic infraction to give them the reason to pull you over and conduct a DUI investigation. Be prepared.
Here is an article on Pacific Beach DUI officer Zirpolo.
SAN DIEGO — Officer James Zirpolo says he doesn’t keep track of his drunken-driving arrest statistics.
But for the second year in a row, the San Diego police officer has won the Mothers Against Drunk Driving award for making the most DUI arrests in the county.
Zirpolo got 177 drunken drivers off the road last year, making him “Top Arresting Officer” for 2012. The award was presented to him at the annual law enforcement recognition luncheon on Wednesday, hosted by the MADD San Diego chapter and the state Office of Traffic Safety.
Zirpolo won the same award last year, for his 205 DUI arrests in 2011, and again for making 227 arrests in 2009.
Almost 400 law enforcement officials attended the luncheon at the Town & Country Resort in Mission Valley. Thirty-four officers from departments around the county were recognized as “Outstanding DUI Officers” for their high number of arrests.
Together they made more than 12,000 DUI arrests last year, said Christopher Murphy of the Office of Traffic Safety. Ten officers each made more than 100 arrests.
“That truly says something about your commitment to get DUI drivers off the road,” Murphy said.
Zirpolo, a 22-year police veteran, said before the luncheon that he concentrates his efforts around Pacific Beach, Carmel Valley and downtown San Diego.
“I don’t have a great desire to put people in jail,” Zirpolo said. “But when you deal with the amount of trauma for the families of the victims – just don’t drink and drive.”
Sheriff’s Deputy David Toner, assigned to the Encinitas station, came in with the second-highest score on DUI arrests last year, with 143. He claimed the county’s top honor when he made 187 arrests in 2010.
San Diego Police Officer John Perdue won the Distinguished Service Award in memory of California Highway Patrol Officer Christopher Lydon, who was killed by a drunken driver in 1998.
MADD Executive Director Steve Lykins said Perdue, a five-year police veteran, showed a high level of proficiency, esprit de corps, and dedication to get DUI drivers off the road.
Sheriff William Gore told the audience that drunken driving “is a preventable crime.”
Also speaking was Michele Eastland, whose pregnant cousin was killed by a drunken driver on New Year’s Day in 2010.
She recounted her family’s anguish, but told the officers, “I’m so proud to be here in your presence. I know what a hard job you have.”The full article can be found here.