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Police DUI Checkpoints: To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

As you may know, I am a diligent follower of legal developments in the world of police speed traps. Today brings a development in a sister topic: DUI checkpoints, and the appropriateness of using Twitter to alert the world to watch out for such checkpoints. 

In Edmonton, Canada, CBC News reports, police are requesting that people refrain from tweeting the locations of checkpoints set up to catch drunk drivers. CBC News says that in several recent instances, Twitter users in Edmonton have alerted their followers as to the specific locations of checkpoints, resulting in a "heated online debate between those who think the information should be shared and those who deem it stupid and unethical."

Edmonton police believe that it is a mistake to enable drunk drivers to avoid checkpoints, as doing so may put other motorists in danger. Calgary police have made a similar appeal to Twitter users, stating that "we don't see any value in warning people in advance of how to avoid that detection. We want them caught and we want them off the streets."

The Saskatoon, Canada police, however, take the opposite approach. They have stated that they have no problem with checkpoint alert Tweets, and even plan on alerting citizens themselves using Twitter when checkpoints are planned. On Thursday, for example, the Saskatoon police tweeted:

Operation Overdrive checkstops are scheduled for tonight. If you drink, don't drive. Plan ahead, make arrangements, and stick with them.

Saskatoon police say their hope is that people who learn that police checkpoints are in place will think twice about drunk driving.

Posted by Bruce Carton on December 16, 2011 at 04:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

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