New tool for DUI checkpoints

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In the near future, the last thing that drunk drivers may see before they’re whisked off to jail is the Knoxville Police Department’s newest piece of gear. 

The “DUI Checkpoint Trailer” will be used primarily as a support vehicle for officers who are working at traffic checkpoints meant to snare intoxicated drivers.

“Intoxicated drivers make the roads significantly more dangerous, and we have a responsibility as a department to be active in our enforcement efforts and public messaging about the real dangers of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” said KPD’s new police chief, Paul Noel. “This trailer gives us another resource to amplify that message and our enforcement capabilities.”  

KPD spokesperson Scott Erland provided details on how the department plans to use the new piece of equipment.

 “The trailer will be used to both store and transport any equipment needed to hold a checkpoint, including traffic cones and signage,” said Erland.

“Additionally, it has air-conditioning and heating capabilities to give any staff working a checkpoint protection from the elements. It also has LED lighting. There is room for officers to have their laptops and complete any necessary paperwork. There will also be portable breathalyzers, so it will expand our in-the-field sobriety testing capabilities,” he said. 

The trailer won’t be ready for deployment in the field for several months, he explained.

“The KPD’s new trailer will be used for future DUI checkpoints and as a static display at events around the City of Knoxville to educate drivers of the dangers of driving while under the influence,” he explained. 

“Prior to conducting DUI checkpoints, two current DUI instructors will attend training regarding the legal requirements and best practices for executing checkpoints. That training is scheduled for the fall of 2022. Additionally, prior to a checkpoint, the KPD will inform the public of the time, day and location of any checkpoint ahead of time as required by law.”
   The trailer and it’s customized wrap were purchased using a $200,000 Tennessee Highway Safety Office 2021/22 Police Traffic Services grant, Erland said.

The Tennessee Highway Safety Office is tasked with developing and implementing safety programs that address how behaviors impact road safety. The Police Traffic Services program focuses on impaired driving, occupant protection, work zone safety, speed violations, and distracted and aggressive drivers, officials said.  
 

 

Published on July 5, 2022.