Checkpoint Sends a Message to Drivers
At the very minimum an officer spoke with the driver of each vehicle as it traveled through the checkpoint. The checkpoint was on the southbound lanes of Providence Road by Reactor Field.
Over 60 law enforcement agents from four different departments worked the checkpoint. According to the Boone County Sheriff's Department, 618 cars traveled through the checkpoint. Law enforcement personnel administered 26 sobriety tests and arrested 21 people for driving while intoxicated. This effort was the biggest checkpoint the four departments involved have been a part of. Their message was clear.
"We're not going to tolerate drunk driving. We're going to be aggressive, we're going to be creative and I hope that this checkpoint is the first of many in an effort to curb this trend," said Columbia Police Officer Scott Sergent.
Law enforcement hopes small stops like the checkpoint will prevent tragic stops to peoples lives.
"Especially now with school ending and people going back to their homes. I want them to get back to their homes so we don't have to go and tell someone that your child has been involved in an accident or your parents have been involved in an accident," said Dep. Scott Ewing of the Boone County Sheriff's Department.
Despite the streamlined checks it was the cooperation between the departments that was unprecedented. The checkpoint brought together the Boone County Sheriff's Department, Columbia Police, MU Police and State Troopers. Planning and cooperation with other city and state agencies made the checkpoint so successful.
"It started out with myself and Scott Sergent with the city, talking about doing a joint operation and then we decided on a location and then decided well, and we contacted them and they were all... Everyone has been extremely cooperative and it fell together very smothly," Ewing said.
For law enforcement officials involved, the teamwork was fun.
"When you get us all out here it is like a great big family," Ewing said.
"The thing is, a lot of these guys, we don't get to see each other very often. We do have a lot of people out here who are good friends," Sergent explained.
Despite being good friends, the message was serious.
"Everyone that is out here realizes that drunk driving is serious not just in the state of Missouri but here in Columbia," Sergent said.
The Sheriff's Department said a DWI costs about $6,000. This estimate includes insurance costs and legal fines.