DUI Checkpoints Mostly Ineffective for DUI Arrests

A Chicago Tribune investigation revealed that federally backed DUI patrols and sobriety checkpoints in Illinois usually result in ticketing drivers for minor infractions rather than drunk driving. Of the 270,000 citations issued across the state through these patrols, 93% were for less serious offenses than DUI. Records from 2008 to 2013 reveal that ten police agencies throughout the state accounted for more than half of the citations issued by these patrols. These agencies include Chicago, Skokie, Elgin, Will County, Waukegan and Illinois State Police.

The Skokie Police Department logged 14,000 citations through their drunk driving patrols, but only about 3% of the citations were for DUI. The Elgin Police Department issued around the same number of citations, but arrested more than twice as many drunk drivers as Skokie. About 7% of Will County’s citations through these patrols were for DUI and about 11 percent of Waukegan police’s citations were for DUI.

Last year, a Des Plaines commander padded the number of DUI arrests made by his department in an effort to collect federal grant money. At his sentencing hearing, his attorney spoke of the pressure the commander was under in meeting the department’s quotas.

While there are no ticket quotas attached to the federal grant money for these patrols and checkpoints state officials have adopted quotas as a “performance measure.” Illinois now prohibits ticket quotas, but grant-funded policing initiatives, including DUI patrols, are an exception.

Sobriety checkpoints yield thousands of minor citations but dew DUI arrests, May 8, 2015, www.chicagotribune.com

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