Missouri lawmakers cut funding for DUI checkpoints

Posted at 6:01 PM, May 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-04 19:01:48-04

DUI checkpoints across Missouri rely heavily on grant money. 

Every year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides those funds to the Missouri Department of Transportation, which divvies up the grant money.

But on Thursday the Missouri legislature made the final vote to pass a bill that cuts funding for DUI checkpoints to just a single dollar. 

“Not only is this a slap in the face of victims of drunk driving, this is a slap in the face for law enforcement. Law enforcement officers throughout the state should be outraged that the legislators are taking money away from them at this time,” said Christopher Mann, who sits on the board of directors with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

According to KCPD figures, as of March, three checkpoints resulted in more than 2,000 cars stopped with 63 people arrested for drunk driving. Compare that to the two saturation patrols that pulled over 38 cars and took three drunk drivers off the street. 

Law enforcement on both sides of the state line agree that checkpoints are a strong deterrent. 

“One of the pros of a check lane is that people know that we're out there and they know we're set up at a specific location and we're looking for intoxicated drivers. Saturation is going to be a little bit different these officers are out there you never now where they're at they're looking for people driving impaired,” said Officer John Lacy, a Overland Park Police Department spokesman. 

The author of the bill argues checkpoints aren't as effective anymore because of the use of social media. 

Law enforcement and MADD disagree. 

“We encourage people to promote on social media that there will be check lanes because it does start that conversation, and it makes people think before they get out there. It makes them have an alternative plan before they go and have a drink,” Mann said. 

MO House bill 4 still has to be signed by the governor.

In the meantime, KCPD plans to do two DUI checkpoints next weekend.