Police departments worried about potential cuts to DWI checkpoin - KMOV.com

Police departments worried about potential cuts to DWI checkpoint funding

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Lawmakers in Missouri are looking to reduce funding for DWI checkpoints and police departments are worried. (Credit: KMOV) Lawmakers in Missouri are looking to reduce funding for DWI checkpoints and police departments are worried. (Credit: KMOV)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Lawmakers in Missouri are looking to reduce funding for DWI checkpoints and police departments are worried.

Creve Coeur Police are preparing for a sobriety checkpoint this upcoming Friday, but they are worried about what the future holds for what they call a life-saving initiative.

“I think we would be losing a valuable deterrent in the fight against drunk driving,” said Lt. Jeff Hartman with Creve Coeur Police.

Hartman said they receive roughly $12,000 in grants each year to hold between six and seven checkpoints. Without the grant money, they would not be able to, a fact that worries the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

“It’s a lifesaving program, I think that’s the biggest thing, countless lives, an unknown number of lives have been saved thanks to sobriety checkpoints,” said Meghan Carter, the executive director of the local chapter.

Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob is the sponsor of HB4 which appropriates money to MoDOT.

It reduces the funding for checkpoints down to $1.

But supporter Rep. Justin Hill, R-Lake St. Louis says the money for DWI enforcement is still there, but instead of checkpoints, police departments must use the funds for saturation efforts.

“Plain and simple, checkpoints are no longer effective and saturations are twice as effective,” said Rep. Hill.

Hill is a former law enforcement officer.

But Hartman said it’s the visibility of the checkpoints that make them work.

“We feel the mere possibility of a checkpoint and the visibility of a checkpoint is enough for some people who may normally drive impaired, to not drive impaired,” he explained.

St. Charles City Police said they too are worried, without the funding there would be no way to conduct the more than dozen checkpoints the St. Charles County DWI Task Force conducts each year.

Lawmakers will discuss the budget in the Missouri Senate on Thursday

Copyright 2017 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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