How Do the Police Choose the Locations for Checkpoints?


Quick Answer

When deciding where to set up checkpoints, police must choose locations where there have been many wrecks or fatalities related to impaired driving, explains the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They must also consider the safety of the general public, volunteers and officers when making location decisions.

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How Do the Police Choose the Locations for Checkpoints?
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Full Answer

For the safety of volunteers and police officers running the checkpoint, police must select locations that offer the utmost visibility for these personnel, notes the NHTSA. It is also their duty to consider which locations are the least inconvenient and intrusive for motorists. One way they accomplish this is by comparing traffic flow in different areas and determining the extent to which they can expect a checkpoint to disrupt this traffic flow. There is a specific formula police use to predict how disruptive a checkpoint is in a particular location at a particular time. The calculation involves multiplying the approximate time it takes to interview a motorist by the number of officers, then dividing that number by the number of vehicles they can expect to travel through during the checkpoint.

Certain states require the police to specify the procedure they use for determining which vehicles to stop in situations where it is not possible to check every single motorist, states the NHTSA. The administrative order that permits the officers to conduct checkpoints must detail this procedure.

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