Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs police will be manning a checkpoint to keep drunken drivers off the roadways on the weekend before Halloween.
This Saturday night, the police department will conduct the city's first-ever sobriety checkpoint, said Sgt. Joel Rae, who is coordinating the effort.
"We felt we would do this over the Halloween weekend," Rae said of the checkpoint. "This is to deter drunk drivers. This is a proactive role. We don't want drunks on the street."
Steamboat police officers, along with officers from neighboring agencies, will man the checkpoint starting at 9 p.m. Saturday and ending at 2:30 a.m. Sunday. The officers will set up the stop on U.S. 40 between Anglers and Trafalgar drives.
Officers will set up a warning for motorists about the stop about 1,500 feet from the checkpoint.
"We have a set plan in which vehicles will be contacted," he said. "At first, we will not be able to stop every vehicle. Later in the evening, every car will be contacted."
Motorists who are asked to stop at the checkpoint will be pulled out of traffic and given an explanation by officers.
"We will proceed with a normal DUI investigation," Rae said. "If there is no indication a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will be sent on their way."
Steamboat police are paying for the operation with grant money the department received from the state.
Earlier this year, the department was awarded a $21,000 Law Enforcement Assistance Fund grant. "The LEAF grant encourages police departments to use sobriety checkpoints to detect and deter drunk drivers," Rae said.
The grant money will pay for the 15 officers who will be at the checkpoint and the jail to operate an alcohol-testing machine and book drunken drivers into jail.
The Steamboat officers will be helped out in the effort by officers from Oak Creek, Hayden, the Colorado State Patrol and Routt County Sheriff's Office. Planning for the operation has been ongoing for about two months.
"We have been talking about doing this for a while," Rae said. "Initially, we wanted to do this over the Labor Day weekend, but we felt we would do it over this weekend."
Rae is hopeful the operation will remind residents that there are transportation alternatives for a person who has had too much to drink.
"Our message is we want to deter drunk drivers," he said. "We want people to use the free city bus, taxis or have a designated driver."
Along with the checkpoint, the department has used the LEAF grant to do extra DUI patrols this year.
"We have done close to 10 DUI saturation patrols this year," Rae said. "We will continue to do this. We will also be doing more checkpoints in the future as well."