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Study Examines Statewide DUI Checkpoints, Including LAPD's

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Cars along Lankershim Blvd. at a checkpoint on New Year's Eve 2009 in the NoHo Arts District | Photo by Zach Behrens/LAist
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If you read LAist, you know DUI checkpoints are almost a weekly activity for the LAPD. Now a new report by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley with California Watch has revealed the operations to be profitable for cities while raising legal questions. The profit comes from impounding vehicles from unlicensed drivers (not as in if you left it at home, but as in you never were given one by the DMV or it's suspended).

According to the report, the "LAPD averaged six DUI arrests per checkpoint in 2009... more than most California departments.... the LAPD’s driver’s license impounds doubled the past two years. One operation in December netted 64 vehicle seizures and four drunken driving arrests."

On average, 35 officers work the checkpoints. "At least a dozen officers spent hours sitting and chatting at an operation in early January in downtown Los Angeles," the report stated. "A couple of officers smoked cigars as they watched cars go through the screening. Officers seized 22 cars that evening and made one DUI arrest. The state data shows that last fiscal year LAPD spent $16,200 per checkpoint, all of it on officer overtime," which is funded by state grants.