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February 16, 2012 - 8:14am

Grant will pay for experimental 'enhanced' DWI checkpoints in Genesee County

posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, dwi.

It's apparently getting easier for drunken drivers to avoid DWI checkpoints so the governor's office is funding an experimental program for "enhanced" checkpoints.

Genesee County has been selected, along with Erie and Westchester, as one of three counties statewide to test the program, according to Assistant County Manager Frank Ciaccia.

The Ways and Means Committee voted Wednesday to approve acceptance of a state grant of $21,755 to fund the operation of six enhanced roadblocks.

Unlike most grants, where the state sets the amount of money it will make available, local officials were able to determine a budget for the program and tell the state how much it needed.

The enhanced checkpoints will be multi-agency efforts, involving the Sheriff's Office, State Police, Batavia Police Department and the Le Roy Police Department.

At each of the six checkpoints, the lead agency will set up and run the roadblock while patrols from other participating agencies will prowl the streets around the checkpoint looking for drivers who are seemingly trying to avoid getting stopped.

Ciaccia said drivers have learned to look ahead for checkpoints, see the lights, and make a turn to avoid them, but there are also apps available now that people can download to their smartphones that will give them advance warning of checkpoints.

For Android phones, there are at least a half-dozen such apps available and Google has reportedly refused to block their distribution.

In June, Apple announced it would ban such apps for the iPhone, but an app called DUI Dodger is currently available for $2.99 in Apple's App Store.

Legislator Ray Cianfrini, an attorney, expressed concern that the enhanced checkpoint program may run into legal issues because, for example, not everybody making a left-hand turn is doing so to avoid a checkpoint.

"Anybody who doesn't go through a roadblock is now suspicious?" Cianfrini said. "Innocent people who have nothing to hide are going to get dragged into the whole thing and I'm not comfortable with the concept."

No dates were announced for the checkpoints.

The Sheriff's Office will act as lead agency on four checkpoints, and Batavia and Le Roy will each conduct one.

Mike Weaver
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Thank you Mr. Cianfrini for the common sense. Folks prattle on about the 1st and 2nd amendment rights being whittled away, meanwhile every citizen whose path home takes them down a sidestreet before a road block gets pulled over and harassed just for having that path home. Your 4th amendment rights are just about gone and noone is saying a thing.

Bea McManis
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How would one determine that one driver is 'seemingly trying to avoid getting stopped", and someone just going home, to work, or visiting a friend?

Mike Weaver
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I guess reasonable cause is now defined as being within sight of a roadblock when you've reached your turn off street.

Donna Hall
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Just think, if you live in New Orleans, they announce DWI checkpoints on the radio, along with traffic and weather reports! Different states with totally different methods - wow

John Woodworth JR
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Yeah, have to agree but, like to know the specifics. Such as, once they turn does the officer have to observe a traffic violation before, they attempt to stop. If it is merely stopping them because, they are turning then I can't see how they can possibly justify that. I would like to see the policy and procedures for this. Actually, I have heard radio stations announce checkpoints. If, I remember right there was an individual in Batavia, who put a sign over a traffic sign warning people of a checkpoint ahead. I am not positive but, I think he was fined for obscuring the traffic sign. I have no love lost for drunk drivers myself since, my first true love Rhonda was killed with two of her classmates, my Aunt Betty and seeing numerous fatalities from drunk driving. Imagine your Mother being killed because, a drunk driver did not care he was under the influence. We all heard it before, “I am okay to drive.” Sometimes in more rude terms.

Howard B. Owens
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Somebody on Twitter had a good suggestion for law enforcement -- just post to the apps a bunch of false checkpoint locations, making the apps within that jurisdiction pretty much useless.

Eric Kingsley
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Quite literally anything you do is defined as reasonable suspicion.. its all in perception of the arresting officer. And whos to regulate what "apps" are available and for what reason? is this not placing an embargo on free trade in a public market? and honestly if you dont want a dwi, dont drive under the influence.. plain and simple. As far as the government both local and national, pouring money into law enforcement, are we headed to being, in a sense, a police state? and on the other hand, for genesee county to be third in the state for DWI convictions, the majority of these convictions being first offenders, is it really necessary, with such a high rate of convictions? I am most certainly not advocating for dwi, as it is a leading cause to accident fatalities in the nation. But i am wondering why law enforcement is the only flourishing industry, in a some what troubled economy?

JT Hunt
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reading this story on my cell almost made me spill my beer whilst i was driving 90mph on my free I-75. damn you lol (just kidding. sort of. wanna live FREE? move from NY!)good day

Thomas Mooney
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Let the crack dealers roam free while we pursue people going around road blocks because the inspection sticker just ran out . Most of these road blocks don't get but maybe one DWI . Thus regular road patrol will produce the same number of DWI's with out the added exspense . Police love this detail , overtime at the exspense of NY taxpayers . A joke once again . Do the job we hire you for during the times you are supposed to work , that would get more DWI's . Talking to your wife and kids on your cell phone while on patrol but claiming it is police buisness is getting old .

JT Hunt
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HINT - if you see a roadblock, pull into someone's driveway. preferbly someone with a barn out back. all be DAMNED how many times when i suffered (lived) up there i lost that "dog". no sign of him? oh wait, Fido must have run opposite of the road entrapment. y'all come back for more common sense tips. good day. again.

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