Summit County will continue to see sobriety checkpoints next year as the result of $465,000 in federal funding from the Ohio Department of Public Transit.
The Summit County Sheriff’s Office announced the funding from the Traffic Safety Office on Tuesday. Funds are awarded to local projects that are expected to have the greatest impact on preventing fatal crashes.
The money will go to aid efforts by the Summit County OVI Task Force, which pays officers overtime to conduct sobriety checkpoints at areas with a history of drunken driving. The funds also pay for increased patrols around the checkpoints and educational events throughout the county.
Last weekend, two sobriety checkpoints — one in the 200 block of East Robinson Avenue in Barberton and one in the 3000 block of Manchester Road in Coventry Township — netted two drunken driving arrests from the 368 cars that passed through. In addition, seven people were arrested on charges of driving with a suspended license, five vehicles were impounded, three people were arrested on outstanding warrants and three other people were arrested for driving without a license, possessing marijuana and violating concealed firearm carry laws.
Many of those 368 cars would have had no warning that they were approaching a checkpoint. That’s because the Summit County OVI Task Force does not release the locations of checkpoints ahead of time, unlike police in every other major city in the state.
In May, task force officials said they believe they are more likely to net arrests if no one knows a checkpoint is nearby. Police in other counties say they announce checkpoints ahead of time to suffice Fourth Amendment probable cause laws and to spread awareness about drunken driving rather than make a bunch of arrests.