DWI checkpoints, car accidents and social media in Calcasieu Parish

Despite public education and law enforcement efforts, drinking and driving remains a major cause of car accidents in Louisiana. One tool that law enforcement departments and agencies use to combat drinking and driving accidents is DWI checkpoints. A couple months ago we wrote about the use of smartphone applications in identifying the locations of DWI checkpoints. Now there are specific social media pages dedicated to DWI checkpoints in Lake Charles and Baton Rouge as well as other communities in Calcasieu Parish.

There are DWI checkpoint Facebook pages for just about every major community in the United States, and there is an organization, Partners for a Better America, that promotes the pages. There is a page for Lake Charles, Lafayette and Baton Rouge as well as other cities and towns in Louisiana. Each DWI checkpoint page has information on future checkpoints and asks users to post information on police patrols generally. The pages are fairly popular with the Lake Charles DWI page having about 2,900 “likes.”

Even though there has been recent growth in local social media sites on DWI checkpoints, local police and sheriff’s offices do not believe the sites will inhibit their ability to enforce drinking and driving laws. The Louisiana State Police equate the growth of social media DWI checkpoints to older tactics that people used to share information on police stops and locations.

Said the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff, if DWI checkpoints were the Sheriff’s Department only means of enforcing drunken driving laws then it would be a problem. The majority of drinking and driving arrests are obtained through a different strategy, roving patrols otherwise known as roving details. Though technology has changed the goal of the law enforcement has not.

Source: kplctv.com, “Social media sites reveal cops’ secret locations,” Brandon Richards, Aug. 10, 2011

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