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Operation Thunder cracks down on Richmond County drivers

Saturday, May 4, 2013 5:28 PM
Last updated Sunday, May 5, 2013 1:42 AM
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Two months into the Operation Thunder traffic violation crackdown, citations haven’t dropped to zero as hoped, but Richmond County deputies say they see a difference in driver behavior.

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At least 20 to 25 officers from across the state, a drug canine, and members of the fire department and EMS participate in Operation Thunder roadblocks.  TODD BENNETT/STAFF
TODD BENNETT/STAFF
At least 20 to 25 officers from across the state, a drug canine, and members of the fire department and EMS participate in Operation Thunder roadblocks.

So far in the 90-day operation begun Feb. 14, police have apprehended 24 fugitives, made 50 drug and 14 felony arrests, and issued 216 DUI citations.

Citations also have been issued to motorists who were speeding, driving without insurance and failing to use seat belts, according to deputies.

The citations and arrests tell one story, officials say, but some changes deputies are seeing on the roads tell another.

Deputies report more vehicles are being left in parking lots of local bars after closing, Rich­mond County sheriff’s Lt. Lewis Blanchard said, indicating bargoers are finding alternatives to drinking and driving.

During a recent checkpoint on River Watch Parkway, officers said they noticed an increase in designated drivers.

Blanchard said numerous cars came through the check with moms and dads telling officers their children woke them out of a sound sleep to pick them up after drinking. Other passengers who appeared inebriated proudly proclaimed their decisions to get a designated driver that night.

“Those are good things,” Blan­chard said. “We hope it’s not just because of Operation Thunder. We hope it carries over.”

In Richmond County, traffic fatalities are down by more than half compared with this time last year. Six people have died this year on Augusta roads, compared with 12 over the same period in 2012. One of this year’s fatalities was a dirt bike accident on private property and not traffic-related. The number has been on the rise: from 19 total fatalities in 2010 to 34 in 2011 and 42 last year.

Each year, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety compiles a list often referred to as “the deadly dozen.” The list includes 12 counties outside metro Atlanta with the highest traffic fatality rates. In 2011, Richmond County was No. 2.

The ranking resulted in the GOHS offering the sheriff’s office the opportunity to have its Thunder Taskforce move in for a 90-day crackdown on traffic offenses. GOHS foots the bill for the crackdown, and the sheriff’s office coordinates.

It’s not the first time Richmond County received the offer. GOHS law enforcement coordinator Powell Harrelson, said GOHS offered its services about four years ago but was turned down. Former Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength said he preferred not to elaborate on the reason why the task force was refused.

“If (Operation Thunder) helps in any way with fatalities then it’s a good thing,” Strength said.

Harrelson said the task force has been turned down elsewhere across the state.

“There will always be naysayers, saying we’re here for different reasons,” Harrelson said, “but the goal is to reduce fatalities.”

The operation consists mainly of checkpoints, but has focused on speeding and texting while driving.

“The reason we focus on (texting) is because studies show it’s just about as dangerous as drinking and driving,” Blanchard said.

During texting crackdowns, officers sit in unmarked cars watching for violations. Officers then take a photo of the driver texting before initiating a traffic stop.

“Our true goal is to reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities on the roadway,” Blanchard said.

Harrleson said Richmond County has surprised him.

“I expected to see a lot of DUIs and child seat (violations),” he said, “but suspended drivers have been unreal. There’s been a ton of expired tags.”

Blanchard said the number of child restraint violations is troubling.

Vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 12, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Proper child seat usage has been proven to reduce deaths by 43.5 percent and serious injuries by 50 percent.

Sheriff’s Lt. Ramone Lamkin said he believes the message is getting across to the public, as he’s seeing fewer citations being issued overall.

“It will be completely successful if we can go with no citations and people doing what they’re supposed to do,” he said. A typical night

At least 20 to 25 officers are needed to conduct an Operation Thunder checkpoint, but on March 29, Richmond County had about 100 officers from across the state assisting. Only Richmond County’s traffic division deputies or those volunteering while off duty participated to avoid affecting other police operations within the county.

Officers met to have dinner before a long night on the roads, where checkpoints last until after 3 a.m.

They were reminded of procedures, but most were familiar with the rules, having attended similar operations across the state.

“We have to make sure we’re courteous and nice,” Blanchard told the crowd.

He reminded the officers that all eyes are on them, especially with the use of social media.

“Usually within 10 minutes of being where we’re at it’s on Facebook,” he said. “It’s been getting a little more aggressive.”

Before heading to the scene, officers were reminded to obey all traffic laws.

They do not use flashing blue lights on the way to the first stop, a policy that was reviewed after Richmond County Deputy Eard Trim­mingham struck the rear of a Habersham County deputy on Interstate 20 on March 1 while traveling to a checkpoint. Both deputies had their sirens on and lights flashing during the crash.

The first checkpoint on this night was at Wrightsboro and Damascus roads.

Out-of-town officers served as “checkers” in the middle lanes, inspecting licenses, and looking and smelling for other violations. If an issue arose, the vehicle was sent to the outside lanes, where Richmond County deputies and troopers were waiting. Blanchard said they are the only ones authorized to make an arrest or issue a citation.

An officer with a drug canine walked up and down the lane of waiting cars. If a scent is detected, the dog will sit by the side of the vehicle.

Wreckers waited to tow vehicles, and members of the fire department and EMS were on hand to draw blood for alcohol blood tests.

A few officers hung back on the outskirts of the check, in case anyone tried to avoid the stop.

Drivers who attempt to turn around are warned to stop and proceed through the check. If they’re ignored, officers proceed in a chase with blue lights flashing.

Overall, Blanchard said, there have been few issues with people trying to run from a check.

In one location, he said, a driver stopped at the check, put the vehicle in park and fled from the vehicle, leaving his mother, a passenger, alone. During a stop on Gordon Highway, a man ended up with broken bones in his ribs, leg and arm after he got out of his vehicle and jumped over a bridge, falling about 40 feet. An officer was almost injured when a woman sped through a checkpoint, taking out traffic cones. Those who tried to flee were caught, Blanchard said.

The response

The sheriff’s office has received mostly positive feedback through social media and during roadblocks. On its Facebook page, people leave requests for Thunder to return to certain areas or continue past the scheduled three-month mark.

Others, however, criticize roadblocks as a violation of their Fourth Amendment rights on search and seizure.

“We’re in the business where we can’t make everyone happy,” Blanchard said. “That’s their opinion, but the law is very clear.”

The law has a list of requirements that must be met for a roadblock to take place. It includes a supervisor being on location, a pre-approval form being completed, locations being pre-determined based on needs or statistics, patrol cars being parked and visible, and having road check signs.

Blanchard said he almost understands people not wanting police interaction if there isn’t already a problem, but he wants them to understand “we have a job to do. We’re not trying to infringe on someone’s rights.”

Some Facebook pages that claim the operation is unconstitutional are dedicated to listing the locations of Operation Thunder checks.

Some jurisdictions have said any postings that interfere with a government agency could face charges similar to ones where officers catch someone flashing their lights at other motorists to warn of a traffic stop or an officer running radar. Richmond County hasn’t gone that far, he said.

The impact

One fear officers have is that any improvements made during Operation Thunder will be lost after the operation ends.

“I bet it will have a residual effect for some time,” Blanchard said. “I don’t know how long it’s going to be.”

Harrelson said their experience shows that the operations do have a more long-term effect.

The operation is scheduled to end in the beginning of June. The extension past 90 days makes up for weeks missed because of the task force’s other obligations.

After an operation is over, it’s in the county’s or city’s hands to keep numbers low, but Thunder has occasionally made a reappearance. After visiting once, the task force returns more frequently for smaller operations with little public notice.

It’s been several years since the three-month operation was held in middle Georgia’s Houston County, and its traffic violations have not increased.

When Operation Thunder went to Houston County several years ago, the county was struggling with a high number of DUI cases, but the numbers have dropped, Harrelson said.

Mini-Thunders take place in the county occasionally.

“I feel it is making a difference in driver behavior,” said Houston County Sheriff’s Lt. Ronnie Harlow.

Chatham County was one of the first counties to have an operation after the Thunder Taskforce was formed in 2007. Harrelson said the operation helped reduce fatalities and major crimes.

“The numbers stayed down fairly low for a while,” Harrelson said.

A study, conducted by Emory University graduate students and released in April, evaluated the effectiveness of Operation Thunder and found collision rates decrease up to six months after the operation’s end.

Results found no significant difference in collision rates 30 days after an operation, but drops were found at 90 and 180 days, with collision rates “significantly lower in counties that had been mobilized.”

“However there is not enough information to truly understand the influence,” the report stated.

The study looked only at collision data and did not analyze future incidents involving driving under the influence, seat belt usage or speeding. The report did suggest that sobriety and seat belt usage checkpoints have been proven to reduce behaviors.

One of the weaknesses of the task force, according to the analysis, is that it fails to follow up past mobilizations’ effectiveness by looking at new crash data.

“Our weakness is we just have not had the opportunity or the resources to do as much follow-up that needs to be done after each mobilization,” GOHS special operations director Ricky Rich said in the Emory study.

GOHS employees said they have heard the effects last for several months on the highways and even extend into other crime areas.

Richmond County sheriff’s investigators said they have seen a decrease in homicides this year. There have currently been three, compared with 12 from the same period last year. Although it’s difficult to determine, they attribute the change to an increase in police presence from Operation Thunder.

Operations have been held in Barrow, Bulloch, Carroll, Douglas, Glynn, Hall, Henry, Laurens, McIntosh and Oconee counties.Mini-Thunders also take place in Atlanta occasionally for a few days at a time.

“If Operation Thunder ends and we start seeing an increase in fatalities and accidents, then we’ll ask for help (from GOHS),” Blanchard said.

OPERATION THUNDER

A look at the statistics compiled from Operation Thunder traffic checks, through April 28:

 WARNINGSCITATIONS
Child passenger safety14305
Driving under the influence216
Suspended license212
Seat belt usage6199
Speeding4856
Uninsured vehicle49
Reckless driving3
Other733531

BY THE NUMBERS

Road checkpoints 23

Drug arrests 50

Felony arrests 14

Apprehended fugitives 24

Source: Richmond County Sheriff’s Office

Comments (34) Add comment
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oldredneckman96
5042
Points
oldredneckman96 05/04/13 - 08:13 pm
7
0
Rolling thunder
Unpublished

Now, arrest all these bumbs with off road lights on while on a public highway and get all the loud vehicles with no mufflers.

nocnoc
40921
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nocnoc 05/04/13 - 09:09 pm
12
5
As predicted Operation Thunder is getting out of hand.

Now there is talk of Operation "The Heat is On" or something.

What next? Operation Fall In to Line.

Followed by Operation Safe Holidays.

Why does it look like GA. is moving towards a uninviting Police State, with Special Enforcement operation after operation?

SERIOUSLY, Is the goal still safe streets, or is it now Revenue?

nocnoc
40921
Points
nocnoc 05/04/13 - 09:10 pm
9
3
BTW: How does one credit

BTW: How does one credit

Traffic enforce to a decrease in homicides?

specsta
6355
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specsta 05/04/13 - 09:27 pm
11
3
The Right To Be Left Alone

From the article - "A few officers hung back on the outskirts of the check, in case anyone tried to avoid the stop.
Drivers who attempt to turn around are warned to stop and proceed through the check. If they’re ignored, officers proceed in a chase with blue lights flashing."

According to the US Supreme Court, this is illegal. Motorists have a right to avoid road blocks.

From the SCOTUS opinion in Michigan vs Sitz. Argued February 27, 1990. Decided June 14, 1990 --

"The court first affirmed the trial court's finding that the guidelines governing checkpoint operation minimize the discretion of the officers on the scene. But the court also agreed with the trial court's conclusion that the checkpoints have the potential to generate fear and surprise in motorists. This was so because the record failed to demonstrate that approaching motorists would be aware of their option to make U-turns or turnoffs to avoid the checkpoints. On that basis, the court deemed the subjective intrusion from the checkpoints unreasonable. Id., at 443-444, 429 N. W. 2d, at 184-185."

People have a right to avoid these checkpoints. The police will not tell you this.

Riverman1
81927
Points
Riverman1 05/04/13 - 09:54 pm
6
0
Nocnoc, to your question

Nocnoc, to your question about homicides and traffic enforcement, from the attempted murder and other crime on Riverwalk while the traffic stops are going on, it could be a reverse relationship.

Riverman1
81927
Points
Riverman1 05/04/13 - 10:04 pm
7
0
I wonder why Ronnie Strength

I wonder why Ronnie Strength refused the task force?

Specsta brings up a good point. Blanchard says if someone turns around they stop him and order him to go through the checkpoint. That's certainly NOT LEGAL. The officer stopping him could observe the driver for signs of intoxication and so on, but they cannot tell him he has to turn around and go through the checkpoint. He may have valid reasons for turning around...as if he needs any. Thus, I believe anyone in a checkpoint who turns around, is stopped and ordered to go back through the checkpoint would certainly beat any charges made at the checkpoint.

Again, I'm not knocking Sheriff Roundtree and the RCSO in any way. They are going by the rules used all over the state. I simply disagree with the constitutionality of the rules. I would never give them a hard time for doing their job, but I promise I would tell them it's an illegal, unconstitutional checkpoint. I have a feeling more than a few of them would agree with me.

specsta
6355
Points
specsta 05/04/13 - 10:10 pm
8
3
Bad Info?

From the article - "Some jurisdictions have said any postings that interfere with a government agency could face charges similar to ones where officers catch someone flashing their lights at other motorists to warn of a traffic stop or an officer running radar. Richmond County hasn’t gone that far, he said."

Face charges? I'm curious to know which jurisdictions the writer is referring to - I can't imagine that any law enforcement agency would be that ignorant of the law. It is a First Amendment right to post writings and articles about police activity, to videotape and photograph police activity, and even to flash your headlight to warn other drivers about a speed trap. So I'm glad RCSO hasn't "gone that far" down the road, which would be both illegal and unconstitutional.

There have been several cases across the US where state court judges have affirmed those First Amendment rights.

Riverman1
81927
Points
Riverman1 05/04/13 - 10:24 pm
7
0
Newspaper Use to Post Checkpoint Sites

It seems like I remember the Columbia County News Times use to post the locations and times of coming checkpoints with the approval of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office. I, too, would be interested in any court case against someone who posted checkpoint info. Are you going to lock up truck drivers with CB radios?

specsta
6355
Points
specsta 05/04/13 - 11:03 pm
12
3
@ Riverman1

Riverman1, law enforcement agencies are required by law to notify the public of checkpoints BEFORE they take place. This is straight from the Supreme Court. In every city where I have lived, newspapers and tv stations would publicize checkpoints as required by law.

The question is - why are they not following the law here?

Little Lamb
45146
Points
Little Lamb 05/04/13 - 11:08 pm
8
2
Because . . .

We are Augusta, where laws are merely suggestions.

csraguy
2220
Points
csraguy 05/04/13 - 11:39 pm
4
1
Visibly avoiding or attempting to avoid a road check

Although police have no legal standing to make you go through a road check, they do in fact have the authority and probable cause to stop you for attempting to avoid a road check. In fact, you have provided them with probable cause to suspect criminal activity through your actions. Even the most liberal of websites and DUI Lawyer websites will inform you that “attempting to avoid a road check” will result in you legally being pulled over by the police. Without taking advice on here, check for yourself.

Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990), was a United States Supreme Court case involving the constitutionality of police sobriety checkpoints. By a vote of 6-3, the Court held that these checkpoints met the Fourth Amendment standard of "reasonable search and seizure."

During the operation, drivers would be stopped and briefly questioned while in their vehicles. If an officer suspected the driver was intoxicated, the driver would be sent off for a field sobriety test. The Supreme Court held that Michigan had a "substantial government interest" to advance in stopping drunk driving, and that this technique was rationally related to achieving that goal. The Court also held that the impact on drivers, such as in delaying them from reaching their destination, was negligible, and that the brief questioning to gain "reasonable suspicion" similarly had a negligible impact on the drivers' Fourth Amendment right from unreasonable search. Applying a balancing test, then, the Court found that the Constitutionality of the search tilted in favor of the government.

GA Supreme Court Ruling No. No. A12A0625, June 14, 2012. By Georgia law, avoiding roadblocks can result in losing some of the Constitutional protections given to drivers who are at the roadblock. Primarily, if you take evasive action to avoid the roadblock and are pulled over, the primary purpose for pulling you over at that point does not have to be to ensure you and your vehicle are fit to continue driving. The reason is simple – by taking evasive measures to avoid the roadblock, you have provided law enforcement with reasonable articulable suspicion that you are engaged in criminal behavior.

csraguy
2220
Points
csraguy 05/05/13 - 12:04 am
4
1
River, this may shed some light...

DDACTS, Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Safety, has provided law enforcement agencies substantial information to show crime reductions being tied into increased traffic enforcement. The more visible presence combined with road checks at various locations in high problem areas is a pro-active approach to law enforcement based on deployment of personnel based on statistics. This, combined with community oriented policing “should” have a great reduction in crimes within any area as well as fatalities. Although it is far too early to form an opinion for Augusta, thus far, these approaches seem to be working well.

You are correct, you cannot order anyone to turn around and go through a road check. You can do as the article says; place officers at various locations to pull over vehicles who attempt to avoid the road check and follow the procedures for a standard traffic stop.

Road safety checks are constitutionally legal based on Georgia law and the US Supreme Court. GA Supreme Court Ruling No. S97A1814, March 16, 1998 and US Supreme Court Ruling 496 U.S. 444, 1990 both uphold the constitutionality of checkpoints. Different states have various laws to notify citizens. Both GOHS and RCSO did in fact notify citizens of road checks within the area through many media outlets and have exceeded the minimum requirements set forth by law for all road checks.

Road Checks may be a controversial for some but so is the use of radar and laser for speed enforcement as well as many other legal means used by law enforcement to enforce the laws of the road. I have been through road checks before in other areas and I would prefer a slight delay in my time compared to sharing the roads with drunks and drivers without licenses or those who have been revoked for dangerous driving. There would be no reason for road checks and no need to worry about speed traps or anything else for that matter if everyone would just obey the traffic laws set forth. However, you certainly can’t deny the positive impact in saving lives and brining attention to the bad driving habits within our area.

dichotomy
31931
Points
dichotomy 05/05/13 - 12:22 am
9
1
Meanwhile, the thugs are

Meanwhile, the thugs are bashing people in the head with a baseball bat on the Riverwalk during First Friday in the CBD. But don't worry about that Roundtree.....just keep handing out those traffic tickets.

Rolling Thunder, Click-it-or-ticket, HEAT.....who makes up these stupid names for "special" operations that SHOULD be normal daily law enforcement. Instead of harassing law abiding motorists with checkpoints why don't they just stop the hundreds of dead heads I see sliding and gliding, speeding, weaving in and out, with no plates, no insurance, and no common sense going down the Gordon Hwy and across Bobby Jones every day?

specsta
6355
Points
specsta 05/05/13 - 12:41 am
5
0
@ csraguy

Perhaps you should re-read the SCOTUS opinion on Michigan v Sitz...

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0496_0444_ZS.html

onethickdiva
1558
Points
onethickdiva 05/05/13 - 03:02 am
3
0
I agree but I dont

I completely understand what RCSO wishes to accomplish but as dichotomy stated, its things they should hit daily. I guess I'm just impatient and don't feel like waiting in line because I always avoid them.

Riverman1
81927
Points
Riverman1 05/05/13 - 07:01 am
6
0
Info in Article Was Wrong

CSRAGuy, as you noted in your second post, no one is saying you can't be pulled over for avoiding a checkpoint, but you can't be ordered to turn around and go through the checkpoint. That's exactly what was said by Blanchard in the article. You say you have waived some constitutional rights by doing so, but that's not the case. You CAN be stopped on presumption, but as with any traffic stop you have rights that can't be infringed upon. What specifically are you saying?

In addition, Blanchard said, "Some jurisdictions have said any postings that interfere with a government agency could face charges similar to ones where officers catch someone flashing their lights at other motorists to warn of a traffic stop or an officer running radar."

We all know that's not the case. Even you are saying the location and time of checkpoints is made available to the public, thus posting the info on Facebook is certainly not against any law by the wildest stretch of the imagination.

I readily admit the Supreme Court has allowed these checkpoints saying we faced a national emergency with drunk drivers. However, that implies it was an abeyance of the Constitution on a temporary basis. You point out how many offenders were caught, so why don't we search blocks of houses in certain areas of town for illegal items and activity without warrants? We would no doubt catch many lawbreakers in certain areas.

Riverman1
81927
Points
Riverman1 05/05/13 - 07:06 am
8
0
What if Every Car Turned Around?

It would be funny if every single car approaching a checkpoint turned around. It would be like a Chinese fire drill with the officers trying to move the checkpoint back the other way....then the motorists turn around again. Heh.

nocnoc
40921
Points
nocnoc 05/05/13 - 07:59 am
6
0
I supported Operation Thunder

I supported Operation Thunder from the get go, but I also warned it would turn ugly IF not properly operated and controlled to avoid being a $$$ revenue $$$$ operation.

Yes it has accomplish some good busts.

But at what cost? How many 10,'s of 1000's of cars were screened to get the numbers? How many 10,'s of 1000's of honest drivers were delayed, interrogated/questioned to find a criminal.

Yes I am glad we are getting Drunks and felons off the streets.

But hindering 10,'s of 1000's of honest peoples liberties is not my idea of liberty and freedom. Maybe it is time spread the enforcement out a little. Like patrolling Riverwalk, the Mall, shopping centers and Highways. Instead of playing fisherman with a wide net that traps everything including the unnecessary things.

Want to catch drunks?
Set up checkpoints at bars.
Broad St. and parts of Gordon Hwy, and Washington Rd. quickly comes to mind.

Want to catch drug dealers?
Just ask Porkchops in Narcotics where to set up a checkpoint.

Want to catch and thieves
Set up a checkpoint in front of the court house there are a few select politicians and bureaucrats that could use arresting.

Having traveled in other countries and been through their checkpoints, I get the feeling if we keep going down this path we'll soon hear.

Comrade, Your Travel permit & papers.

Riverman1
81927
Points
Riverman1 05/05/13 - 08:14 am
8
1
I support Operation Thunder

I support Operation Thunder except for the checkpoints and the intimidating convoys with blue lights on. Of course after the accident the convoys were stopped so I have to say I support everything, but the checkpoints. It puts a stigma on any county with that many roadblocks. Maybe that's why Ronnie Strength didn't want the program here when he was Sheriff.

Riverman1
81927
Points
Riverman1 05/05/13 - 08:18 am
5
0
Nocnoc, I'd bet checkpoints

Nocnoc, I'd bet checkpoints on some streets would have a 75% arrest rate for one thing or another. It would tie up every officer and fill the jail with many who wouldn't make bond.

seenitB4
84926
Points
seenitB4 05/05/13 - 08:36 am
4
0
Time to say enough

If it lasts for 90 days wouldn't the end be the middle of May??

Time to put the resources in other places...like say...Riverwalk..especially look out for the baseball bats.

Riverman1
81927
Points
Riverman1 05/05/13 - 08:47 am
2
0
It has been extended since it

It has been extended since it was suspended for awhile presumably during the Masters.

itsanotherday1
41663
Points
itsanotherday1 05/05/13 - 10:20 am
4
0
RM, It WOULD be fantastic if

RM, It WOULD be fantastic if a group got together just to thumb their noses at the checkpoints. Can't you just see it? 20 or 30 cars proceeding towards a checkpoint, and one by one turning around or turning off. (legally).

And to repeat Spectsta et al. All caps for empahsis. SCOTUS HAS RULED THAT IT IS NOT UNLAWFUL TO FLASH LIGHTS AT ONCOMING TRAFFIC TO WARN THEM OF SITUATIONS AHEAD.

This bovine scat of "interfering with an investigation or government operation" just smacks of totalitarianism.

TakeAHike
186
Points
TakeAHike 05/05/13 - 10:30 am
1
5
You've never lost anyone to a drunk driver

Those complaining about a mild inconvenience of a sobriety checkpoint haven't lost someone to a drunk driver. I nearly lost my dad to a drunk driver around Christmas when I was 8. I distinctly remember overhearing the officer at our door telling us that his seatbelt saved his life but even so, he was hospitalized for a month. Years later, one of my neighbor's identical twins, adorable girls I'd babysat as a teen, was killed killed by a drunk driver.

The drink and drive culture is endemic here like nowhere else I've lived. I can't count the number of times when I've declined a drink in a social setting citing that I have to drive home, that someone has reassured me that the likelihood of getting caught for DUI is low. I get the oddest looks when I say that I'm not concerned about a ticket, I just don't want to be responsible for killing someone. People just don't get it. Talk about a disconnect!

historylover
6567
Points
historylover 05/05/13 - 10:41 am
1
2
TakeAHike

I could not agree with you more. Good for you for voicing your opinion so well.

InChristLove
22459
Points
InChristLove 05/05/13 - 12:34 pm
0
2
Over 1200 warnings and

Over 1200 warnings and citation, not to mention the DUI, felony criminal and drug arrest........and people have an issue with being delayed a few minutes for a road block?

It's been said that Augusta has the worse drivers......after looking at these stats, is it any wonder why.

nocnoc
40921
Points
nocnoc 05/05/13 - 01:02 pm
1
0
By the Numbers for Operation

By the Numbers for Operation Thunder
"ASSUMING" the numbers are RCSO Only and not Statewide.

1764 issues / 80+/- days active = 22 per per day.

While the number of Checkpoints was 23. Numbers for Operation Thunder is NOT just counting items occurring at checkpoints.

According one of my RCSO friends, ANY STOP, citation, arrest resulting from a traffic stop occurring in ARC is counted.

So again I have to wonder out loud is the operation any better than RCSO doing normal traffic violation stops?

YES,

because checkpoints are set up like a production line and groups of drivers can be processed quicker than individual stops.

More tickets equal more revenue.

Discussionstarter
478
Points
Discussionstarter 05/05/13 - 01:11 pm
1
0
I fully support Operation Thunder or any other similar operation

My question is 'why' is Columbia County not doing this?

Sweet son
10028
Points
Sweet son 05/05/13 - 01:33 pm
0
0
You guys keep talking about turning around on the

checkpoint. Is that in itself probable cause for an officer to initiate a traffic stop? I wouldn't think so. It seems that the officer would have to witness a violation after the turn around to make it a "legal" stop.

Guys on Youtube liken this to having your "papers" checked like Nazi Germany! The other interesting checkpoints are ones called border checks when in fact they are 50 miles from the border. Happens out in Texas and other States that border Mexico.

GloriaGloria
3
Points
GloriaGloria 05/05/13 - 07:22 pm
1
0
Operation Thunder Blunder

While catching DUIs, drug abusers is a good thing, I got caught up in the thunder. I'm a Senior citizen living on a fixed income and a careful driver. I see in Sundays paper many people got warnings while I got a speeding ticket. I wonder why this is? Since I got the ticket I've been trying to see how much it is but no one and I mean no one has been able to tell me. I provide the Citation number and my drivers license and no one has a record for it. What's up with this mess? I am tyring to budget on my fixed income to pay this thing.

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