Radar love

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A story in USA Today says that the worst speed traps in Iowa are to be found in Des Moines. That's probably meant as a metro-wide recognition, rather than one of the city of Des Moines proper. Each town within the metro area has its own personality -- and so does every police department. Some are known for their rigid enforcement of speed limits (Windsor Heights, for instance), while others are considerably more relaxed. One unwelcome development of late has been the "traffic safety checkpoint", most recently attempted on Hickman Road back in September. The problem with these checkpoints -- in which a certain number of cars passing through are either randomly or specifically picked out to be pulled over and inspected -- is that they erode people's trust in the law. News of the checkpoint spread rapidly, and anyone in the know most likely took pains to avoid going through...not because they wanted to break the law, but because they didn't want to take the risk of a needless detention or delay, nor did they want to risk punishment for some minor infraction. There's a reason we have Constitutional limits on search and seizure; citizens should expect that their first reaction to the sight of police would be relief, not anxiety. "Checkpoints" like the one on Hickman may be legal in Iowa, but that doesn't mean they're the right thing to do.

(Note: Take a look at the results of the checkpoint operation)

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This page contains a single entry by Brian Gongol published on November 21, 2007 3:17 PM.

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