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In 2003, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office operated the most effective and aggressive DUI enforcement effort ever in the state of Colorado.
While saturation patrols may be effective in apprehending DUI motorists, they do not significantly deter the population at large from driving under the influence, due to their covert nature. However, DUI checkpoints send a clear message to the public. They are higher-profile, and deputies at the checkpoints make an effort to educate all drivers on the consequences of driving under the influence. The DUI checkpoint philosophy emphasizes education first, and considers removing drunk drivers from the road a positive secondary effect.
Some time ago, our own Sgt. Bob Vette was alarmed by a series of Jeffco traffic accidents that involved alcohol and resulted in serious injury or death. He saw a need for more enforcement targeting drivers under the influence. He became interested in the concept of the "moving DUI checkpoint." He completed extensive background research and gained the support of Sheriff's Office staff for his plan to use moving checkpoints in Jefferson County.
Using a model from the state of Tennessee as a guideline, Sgt. Vette created a proposal to target as many as three problem areas in one night, maximizing resources and stretching coverage over a large geographic area.
In implementing the moving checkpoints, Sgt. Vette banded together law enforcement agencies in Jefferson County to work as a team in the fight against DUIs. JCSO staff operated at least one checkpoint a month - often twice a month in conjunction with CDOT's statewide "Heat is On" or "Click-It or Ticket" campaigns. Other local police departments routinely assisted in the enforcement efforts, and the JCSO stationed some checkpoints in their jurisdictions. Collaborating with agencies that were not equipped or funded for moving checkpoints made the endeavor a win-win situation for everyone.
During 2003, the Sheriff's Office conducted 25 mobile DUI checkpoints, resulting in more than 100 arrests. Just as important, more than 12,000 drivers were contacted and educated on the impact of driving under the influence. After accounting for other dedicated DUI patrols, the department's DUI and DWAI arrests were up 28 percent from 2002. MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) recognized Sgt. Vette's efforts with the DUI Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award.
Sgt. Vette was promoted and has moved on to another area of the department, but his efforts to establish a DUI checkpoint model have stuck. Today our Directed Operations Unit conducts regular, multi-jurisdictional DUI checkpoints in and around Jefferson County in an effort to make our roads safer following Sgt. Vette's roving checkpoint model.
As part of the effort to combat drunk driving, the Sheriff's Office regularly conducts DUI checkpoints in Jefferson County, often in conjunction with other area law enforcement agencies.
Many checkpoints are mobile. This means the checkpoint is set up at a certain location for a few hours, and then moved to another location. The areas where the checkpoints will be conducted may include the incorporated municipalities as well as unincorporated Jefferson County.
The Sheriff's Office reminds motorists to never drink and drive.
Administration & Courts Facility 100 Jefferson County Parkway Golden, Colorado 80419 (303) 279-6511
© 2013 Jefferson County, CO.