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Police to conduct sobriety checkpoint

July 30, 2009
WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield Police Department, in collaboration with county, state and local police agencies, will conduct a driver sobriety checkpoint this weekend at an undisclosed location.

Drivers coming upon the checkpoint wherever it may lurk will have plenty of warning as the checkpoint will be marked and signed, and assisting cruisers will have blue lights flashing, according to Police Chief Kenneth Fifield and Lt. Mark O'Brien who held a press briefing on Tuesday to alert the public of this weekend's checkpoint.

The sobriety checkpoint will be held between July 31 and Aug. 2. The NH Liquor Commission's DUI Mobile Command Unit will be stationed at the checkpoint and used to conduct tests on suspected drunk drivers. Lt. O'Brien said that an officer from the Wolfeboro Police Department, Guy Maloney, who is a trained drug recognition expert, will also assist at the checkpoint. Two officers from the Ossipee Police Department, two officers from the Sheriff's Department and two officers from NH State Police will assist. Police will ask drivers to pull over at random and will spend a moment checking in with drivers. If they come across a suspected impaired driver, police will conduct a sobriety check. O'Brien said the department will also hand out surveys regarding the checkpoint. He noted that in other towns that have conducted sobriety checkpoints, many drivers were supportive of efforts to crack down on drunk or impaired drivers.

"This is another tool available to us to enforce drunk driving laws," said O'Brien. Chief Fifield noted that drunk driving arrests are up this year and attributed that to more aggressive enforcement. He said New Hampshire has some of the most aggressive laws in the country to fight the intoxicated driver and the law enforcement community will use those tools to their full extent.

Along with drunk or impaired drivers, officers can also site drivers for license or motor vehicle law violations (i.e., suspended licenses or registrations).

The checkpoint the first operation of its kind in Wakefield is fully funded through the NH Highway Safety Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, provides federal highway safety funds to support this crackdown on drunk drivers.

The Wakefield Police Department in cooperation with the Ossipee Police Department, Carroll County Sheriffs Office and NH State Police Troop E, applied for, and was granted, a Superior Court Petition to conduct a Sobriety Checkpoint as a result of the increasing incidents of drinking and driving, police said.

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