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On East El Norte Parkway east of North Ash Street, the Escondido Police Department staged a sobriety checkpoint On October 23 between 6 p.m. and midnight. According to a news release, 1450 cars were checked for basic driver necessities: sobriety, driver’s licenses, registrations, and mandated insurance coverage. Five drunk drivers were taken into custody, 15 vehicles were impounded for unspecified irregularities, and 21 citations were issued.

Ed Gallo (vying for a city-council seat) and several other people were out in support of the checkpoint. However, not everyone was in favor of the police activity. A few blocks west of the checkpoint, about a dozen protesters — brandishing protest signs such as “Million Dollar Checkpoint” — warned drivers of police ahead.

“We don’t mind them doing it for DUI checkpoints,” said Freddie Miranda, one of the protesters. “It’s not really a safety thing; it’s more to make money.” Carmen Griffith echoed the sentiments, adding, “They don’t even do the checkpoint legally. They’re supposed to give drivers an option to go through the checkpoint or not. If a driver turns right before the checkpoint, there’s a cop right there to stop them.”

Funding for the program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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