Funding for sobriety checkpoints reduced to $1 in Missouri

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Sobriety checkpoints are about to be a thing of the past, at least in Missouri, and members of local law enforcement think it is a big mistake. The state budget, which takes effect in July, reduced money for checkpoints down to $1.

Springfield Police believe people who've been drinking are also more likely to make the decision not to drive when they know there is the possibility of a sobriety checkpoint.

"Studies have shown nationally that sobriety checkpoints do deter drunk driving and impaired driving by as much as 20 percent, and now that tool has been taken away from law enforcement in Missouri," said Ron Replogle, a retired member law enforcement who now works for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Housebill 4 essentially defunds checkpoints, taking it down to $1.

"We looked at the effectiveness of saturation patrols versus checkpoints, at saturation patrols get more drunk drivers off the road at a lower cost," said Representative Scott Fitzpatrick of Shell Knob, Mo.

Those patrolling the streets say it is not just about arrests; it is about prevention, a purpose they believe checkpoints serve.

"Obviously I think it's going to lead to more drunk driving incidents. People aren't going to be as worried about getting arrested," Replogle said.

"It just does impact our ability our tools we use. We'll just have to change our method of operation," Parton said.

For local law enforcement that means they will being doing more saturation patrol. That means focusing heavily on select areas to zero in on impaired drivers.