Walter Mencken 9 a.m., May 23
Sheriff's Sobriety Checkpoint Yields No DUIs, Least Revenue, Auditor Says
California's state auditor is out with a report comparing the operation of sobriety checkpoints by law enforcment agencies in five California jurisdictions, including that of San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore.
"No federal or state statutes or regulations exist governing the operation of checkpoints," the audit notes, and the review turned up some interesting information.
According to the report, released yesterday by state auditor Elaine Howle, "statistics show that checkpoints more often result in citations for unlicensed motorists or for those with suspended or revoked driver’s licenses than for alcohol-related offenses."
In addition, the auditors discovered that the checkpoints can prove to be lucrative for local government.
"Our review of documentation from five checkpoints found that law enforcement agencies charge different amounts for releasing towed vehicles to the registered owners or their designated agents.
"In addition to charging vehicle release fees, some police departments or cities we reviewed receive other revenue from vehicles impounded at checkpoints.
"For example, the Los Angeles Police Department collects 7 percent of all gross revenue earned by tow contractors for police-related tows."
Based on the audit's findings, of the five jurisdictions surveyed, San Diego charged the least to release a towed vehicle, $58. Fresno was highest at $294, with Oakland close behind at $250. Folsom police charged $150 and L.A. cops $100.
(According to the report, the Fresno Police Department "adds an additional $110 to its vehicle release fee for alcohol-related offenses and for citations to unlicensed motorists and those with suspended/revoked licenses.")
The auditor notes that the release fees charged by the agencies surveyed are "separate from additional towing and storage fees tow companies may charge motorists."
949 cars passed through the San Diego checkpoint on a Saturday night between 8 pm and 3 the next morning, the auditors found.
Of the 15 citations issued, none were for drunk driving, eight were for unlicensed vehicles, two were for suspended or revoked drivers licenses, and the remaining five were listed as miscellaneous.
There were seven tows, with total potential revenue of $406. Potential citation revenue ranged from $500 to $12,000, according to the audit.
On the other hand, in Fresno, where just 348 cars passed through a Saturday checkpoint between 6 pm and 4 am, there were 33 citations.
Five were for drunk driving, 15 for unlicensed vehicles, 12 for suspended or revoked drivers licenses, and one was classified as miscellaneous.
Total Fresno tows were 26, with potential revenue of $7,534. Potential citation revenue ranged from $4,125 to $44,000.
More like this:
- No drunks drive through police checkpoint — June 20, 2014
- New law will allow up to 400,000 to obtain driver's licenses — Oct. 1, 2012
- Weekend DUI/License Check Nets 2 Arrests, 11 Impounds — April 9, 2012
- Crime Data: Escondido PD, May 2011 — June 8, 2011
- Checkpoint Moolah — Aug. 4, 2010