Success: Oxnard Protesters Warn Drivers of Checkpoint

Dozens of community members came out to support our campaign last night. Local residents made their own signs and brought them out to assist in the resistance effort. Our goal of turning away dozens of vehicles from the checkpoints was greeted with strong expressions of thanks from our neighbors in Oxnard.
We are fighting to stop the abuse and profiting off our backs. Again, we do not condone DUI, reckless driving, or driving without insurance, in fact we are fighting at all levels to change the laws that prohibit our community from getting drivers licenses. LICENCIAS Y DOCUMENTOS PARA TODOS!


Originally posted on the Ventura County Star:
All photos by Colectivo Todo Poder al Pueblo Media Operations.

Oxnard protesters warn drivers of checkpointBy John Scheibe

Posted July 8, 2011 at 11:20 p.m.

Checkpoint is on Channel Islands blvd. (Eastbound) right past Statham rd. (in front of Amar Ranch)
Protesters opposed to the impounding of vehicles from unlicensed and low-income drivers turned out at a DUI checkpoint set up by Oxnard police Friday night.

“These are low-income workers who need a vehicle to get back and forth to work,” said Francisco Romero, a member of Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective, a group opposed to the impounding of vehicles by Oxnard police.

In a new release ahead of the protest, the group stated:

“Since 2009, we have seen a sharp increase in DUI checkpoints that have become less about checking for drunk drivers and more about the impounding of vehicles of unlicensed drivers.” 

Romero said protesters would be on hand far enough ahead of the actual DUI checkpoint to warn drivers of the checkpoint so they could take a side street and avoid officers.

The protesters gathered peacefully along Channel Islands Boulevard, said Tom Chronister, an Oxnard police commander.

Sgt. Randey Latimer, who is in charge of Oxnard’s traffic unit, said police warn drivers of the upcoming checkpoint far enough in advance so they can take another route, should they choose to.

Latimer said police do so even though there is no legal requirement that they do this.

“It’s something we’ve chosen to do,” he said as he stood next to a DUI checkpoint along Channel Islands Boulevard in Oxnard on Friday night.

He added that the primary purpose of a checkpoint is not to catch unlicensed drivers but to nab those who are being the wheel while intoxicated. [?? – see below sign]

Oxnard Police “warning” hidden in a dark corner on a blind curve in the road behind the bushes.

“We view this as an effective way to go after drunk drivers,” said Latimer, noting how the number of drunken drivers caught at a checkpoint has steadily decreased over the years.

Whereas police might once find more than 17 drivers found to be driving under the influence when checkpoints first started years ago, Latimer said today they might nab one intoxicated motorist. And this is on a good night.

Ventura Rd. southbound lane (Between Devonshire and Doris)
Police set up the checkpoints thanks in part to a $250,000 annual grant given Oxnard by federal transportation authorities, Latimer said. As part of the grant, police are required to have at least a dozen such checkpoints a year.

Choosing a location for a checkpoint is based on where police have historically found intoxicated drivers, Latimer said.

“We look at historical data,” he said.

The cost of a DUI conviction can easily be more than $10,000, according to Oxnard police. This includes thousands of dollars in legal fees, as well as high car insurance rates and the cost of lost wages and work.

But Romero questioned whether Oxnard police are more interested in nabbing DUI drivers or collecting fees from impounded vehicles, as occurs when an unlicensed driver is caught.

The data shows there has been more than a 50 percent increase in the number of vehicles seized over the past several years from these checkpoints, Romero said.

While his organization does not condone reckless driving or motorists operating a vehicle while under the influence, Romero said his group would continue to protest these checkpoints until a just solution is found for low-income workers who cannot afford the fees of getting an impounded vehicle back, which he said can total thousands of dollars.

© 2011 Ventura County Star.


Oxnard DUI checkpoints result in 1 arrest, 31 citationsFrom staff reports

Posted July 9, 2011 at 10:14 a.m.

Sobriety checkpoints in Oxnard didn’t result in any arrests for driving under the influence Friday night.

The checkpoints, held on Channel Islands Boulevard at Dallas Drive and Ventura Road at Devonshire Drive, were held from 6 p.m. to midnight. Officers screened 828 drivers and conducted three DUI investigations, according to the report. One 46-year-old man was arrested for possession of paraphernalia used for narcotics, police said.

Officers gave citations to 31 drivers for various driver’s license violations, including 14 for driving without a valid driver’s license and one for driving with a suspended license. Five vehicles were towed from the checkpoints.

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