Bill would slash funding for DUI checkpoints in Missouri - KCTV5

Bill would slash funding for DUI checkpoints in Missouri

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The governor could soon decide the fate of sobriety checkpoints in Missouri if he signs a bill that would slash state funding.

Without state funding, officers around the metro say checkpoints will essentially be eliminated because departments won’t be able to afford to run them on their own. 

Right now law enforcement officers around the metro are canceling scheduled checkpoints because funding is up in the air.

One lawmaker wants to reduce the state budget for checkpoints from $20 million to just $1.

Opponents of his bill say that move could cost lives.

"My fear is that innocent lives will be taken because people will be driving impaired," said Leann Lewis. "Right now we are asking Missouri governor Eric Greitens to please restore the funding for sobriety checkpoints."

Lewis' father was killed in a wreck involving a drunk driver in 2008. She now works as the president of the Mother's Against Drunk Driving Heartland chapter. 

Several supporters of the bill believe social media can warn drivers about checkpoints, making them less effective. 

But local officials disagree with that. 

Sgt. Christopher Bentch of the Kansas City Police Department said officers have not changed their sobriety checkpoint location on St. Patrick's Day for nine years. 

"There was no secret we were doing a checkpoint," he said. "We still got 41 drunks." 

Supporters of the bill argue that sobriety checkpoints violate due process rights and infringe on Constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure. 

Law enforcement officers tell us they are not supposed to schedule any checkpoints until a final decision is made.

They want drivers to know they will be out in full force using other techniques to try and keep drunk drivers off the streets.

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