State funding eliminated for Missouri sobriety checkpoints

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. _ Missouri lawmakers effectively eliminated state spending on sobriety checkpoints beginning in July.  The move follows criticism by some Republican lawmakers who question the effectiveness of checkpoints and raised concerns about whether they represent unreasonable searches and violate due process rights.

The goal of checkpoints is to deter and catch impaired driving. Police still can conduct checkpoints, but they can’t pay for them with that funding.

Missouri Department of Transportation Highway Safety Director Bill Whitfield said some agencies cancelled checkpoints planned for the summer in response to funding cuts.

The roughly $20 million in federal funding will go instead to saturation patrols, which involve positioning extra officers in unannounced areas to watch for signs of drunken driving before pulling over drivers.

By SUMMER BALLENTINE
Associated Press