Drivers approve of DUI checkpoints


— Most people who were stopped by Steamboat Springs police during a DUI checkpoint this year approved of the measure, according to a report city officials reviewed this week.

The report, presented at this week's City Council meeting, describes an order that police will use to conduct checkpoints next week.

The Sept. 23 check will last from about 8 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., police Capt. Joel Rae said.

In May, 250 vehicles passed through four checkpoints in Steamboat Springs. One driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Of the 250 drivers, 100 received surveys about the checks and whether they deter drunken driving. Twenty-nine people returned their surveys.

All 29 drivers said the operation did not cause a significant delay, and 26 said they think checkpoints help keep people from driving drunk. Twenty-five said they approve of the use of checkpoints as a law-enforcement measure.

The surveys help police know how they're doing, Rae said.

"Communication and feedback are important, but it's also important for future checkpoints to see what we can do to make it less inconvenient to the motorist," he said.

About 12 officers will help with next week's checkpoint. Funding for officers' overtime work comes through the Colo--rado Department of Transportation's Law Enforcement Assistance Fund grant. The grant provides money for operations focusing on enforcement

of impaired-driving laws.

Rae said sometimes people think police hold checkpoints because they want to put people in jail. That's not true, he said.

"The goal is to prevent drunk driving, not to catch drunk drivers," he said.


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