Voluntary Government Checkpoints Criticized in “Era of Rampant Distrust of the Federal Government”

Some police
departments across the U.S. are saying that they will no longer
take part in the federal government’s voluntary traffic
checkpoints, which are designed to gather data for programs aimed
at preventing drunk and drugged driving. 

From
USA Today
:

A tactic used by the federal government to gather information
for anti-drunken and drugged driving programs is coming under
criticism in cities around the country, and some local police
agencies say they will no longer take part.

The tactic involves a subcontractor for the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration that uses off-duty but uniformed
police at voluntary roadside checkpoints where motorists are asked
on their behavior behind the wheel. In some cases, workers at the
checkpoints collect blood and saliva samples, in addition to breath
samples. NHTSA has said previously that the surveys do not collect
any DNA. Drivers are not charged at the checkpoints.

USA Today’s reporting goes on to point out that the
checkpoints have been heavily criticized this year in numerous
cities during what is described as “an era of rampant distrust of
the federal government.”

In an era of rampant distrust of the federal government and in
the wake of the Obama administration’s National Security Agency
surveillance scandal in which the agency has collected telephone
calling records from millions of unsuspecting Americans, the
checkpoints have come under intense criticism in several cities
this year.

“Five years ago it would have been a different story,” says St.
Charles County, Mo., Sheriff Tom Neer, who recently authorized
deputies to participate in a checkpoint in his St. Louis suburb and
saw a public backlash. “There’re just such strong anti-government
feelings among people. Under the circumstances, I would not allow
them to do it again. It’s just because of the perception.”

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