Ask a Dispatcher
Q. Where I moved here from the police frequently performed road checkpoints, and these always seemed to result in a large number of warrant arrests along with other charges. But having lived here a decade have never seen or heard of one being performed here and was wondering why not?
Dear Juneau Resident,
Years of experience at JPD means we have heard oodles of arguments for and against checkpoints. The US Supreme Court has said that while the checkpoints are unconstitutional, 4th amendment issues, the state has such an overwhelming interest in catching drunk drivers that it is okay to do checkpoints. Alaska law does not specifically allow for the checkpoints as is the case in some states. Many of those states are mentioned on the website below.
Texas says no way to checkpoints while next door New Mexico says it works for them. Clearly, roadblocks are controversial.
From a police stand point the checkpoints are not only legally but technically difficult. You have to make sure motorists and officers are safe during the stop and inspection. This is no small task when you design a checkpoint.
Our crystal ball doesn’t show if checkpoints are going to become part of the landscape in Juneau in the future. You will probably see more ‘saturation’ patrols. JPD usually does those with funding assistance from the Alaska Highway Safety office. The patrols involve officers working overtime shifts in addition to their regularly scheduled shifts. Some argue saturation patrols are better than checkpoints. The officer has to have probable cause for the stop so he or she will have to see some clues the driver is impaired or other violation to justify the stop. It’s like fishing with a net versus a tarp