Highway Patrol setting up DUI checkpoint in Lawton

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - A DUI checkpoint will be set up somewhere in Lawton this Saturday night, October 22nd.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) doesn't want to let everyone know exactly where the checkpoint will be but come Saturday, it won't be something you will just stumble upon.  The Supreme Court requires there to be signs leading up to every checkpoint, giving people the opportunity to avoid it. Trooper Nathan Mackey with OHP said the purpose of the checkpoint is public safety.

"We all in law enforcement have seen the effects of DUI crashes, alcohol and drug related offenses," Mackey said. "We've seen deaths, we've seen injuries, we've seen children be hurt, adults, and we want to go out and make a difference. We work for the public, we want the public to be safe, that's our main mission."

Mackey said OHP does not actually choose the spot for the checkpoint, instead relying on information from the City of Lawton and State of Oklahoma to pick the best spot.

"They actually bring up a heat map and we can see where the most alcohol-related violations have been stopped and we can look at our crash picture to see where DUI crashes are at, alcohol-related crashes and drug crashes," Mackey said. "We know we will focus in that area to try to make a reduction in crashes for public safety in that area."

No one likes being stopped at a DUI checkpoint and some even like to argue that they are unconstitutional, but Mackey said there is Supreme Court case law that supports the use of checkpoints.

"They set forth guidelines and as long as we follow those guidelines that they have set forth, which we are going to do this weekend and on all of our checkpoints, it's not an unreasonable seizure in the court's mind, in their opinion," Mackey said. "So that's why we do it in this manner we're doing it in."

Those guidelines include alerting the media of a checkpoint, putting signs up alerting that there is a checkpoint ahead, allowing a free-flow of traffic, not holding any driver for an unreasonable amount of time and letting all stopped drivers know exactly why they are there. Mackey said some in Lawton might not like the checkpoint, but said they should go ahead and get used to it.

"We're going to be doing quite a few here in the Lawton area and all of the Troop G area as a matter of fact," Mackey said. "In the next months and years to come, you'll be seeing a lot more of them here in town."

Mackey said results from checkpoints vary depending on location and time of year but generally they make at least 20 DUI arrests per checkpoint.

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