Police required to announce DUI checkpoints ahead of time

An officer checks a driver's ID at a DUI checkpoint on McCord Road St. Patrick's Day night

As many people visited their favorite drinking establishment Monday night to celebrate St. Patrickâ??s Day, local law enforcement were busy setting up two â??Sobriety Checkpointsâ?? in Lucas County to look for impaired drivers.

The two checkpoints were conducted along Holland-Sylvania Road between Angola and Airport Highway and on McCord Road in front of Springfield High School in Holland. Officers and deputies from the Lucas County Sheriffâ??s Office, Holland Police Department, Swanton Police Department, Waterville Police Department, and Toledo Metroparks all assisted in the checkpoints.

However, the locations of the checkpoints were widely circulated on social media and news outlets--including WNWO--well ahead of time. The early announcement upset some of our viewers, and they shared their sentiment with us on our WNWO Facebook page.

Shannon wrote the checkpoints â??should not be announced in any wayâ?¦If they are (under the influence), then let them get caught and served with a fine or jail time. That is a more effective means of getting the point across than announcing checkpoints.â??

But as it turns out, police are required to announce at least 24 hours in advance when they plan to hold a checkpoint.

"It's required by law in the state of Ohio, and we also don't want to hide anything,â?? according to Officer James Piotrowski of the Holland Police Department. â??We're out here, we want people to essentially think twice, to be knowledgeable that we're out, we're going to be enforcing the laws tonight, and we're going to be looking for people that are impaired."

Police say the publicity that comes with running a checkpoint helps get the word out that law enforcement is keeping a close lookout for impaired drivers, and hopefully makes people reconsider before getting behind the wheel. They also note that the checkpoints were just one of the tools in their bag, also adding extra patrols on the streets for St. Patrickâ??s Day.

The St. Patrickâ??s Day checkpoints cost around $3,000, which pays for the officersâ?? work and to cover additional fuel use by police vehicles. But all of the costs were covered by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.