Florida Cops go to Neighborhoods in Search of Drunk Driving

Drivers in central Florida’s Orange City, as in most towns and cities across America, could expect the occasional DUI sobriety checkpoint on any given major road. But it was a little surprising for residential neighbors to find police sitting at the end of their driveways.

Orange City sets up ‘low manpower’ checkpoints to catch drunk drivers on side streets instead of busy thoroughfares. The feeling is that drunk drivers use residential streets in an attempt to avoid detection and the police wanted to send a message while making such drunk drivers wonder where law enforcement may be.

"When people go out drinking, for the most part, they don’t like going down the main streets where there might be more police," Orange City police traffic Sgt. Greg Melvin said. "So they hit the side streets and back streets to their next place or home."

Each DUI sobriety checkpoint  is typically set up for two hours and is staffed by four officers. To date, there have been no DUI arrests and tickets have only been issued for minor violations. There have been 24 DUI arrests made in Orange City on main highways during the past year.

The Orange City law enforcement effort has received national recognition. In addition to being included in the curriculum at the Institute for Police Technology and Management, Sgt. Melvin demonstrated the low manpower DUI sobriety checkpoint concept at a national convention of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. MADD approves of taking the effort to reduce drunk driving to residential neighborhoods and it hopes other cities adopt use of the tactic.

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