At the Scene of a Sobriety Checkpoint [VIDEO]
The Concord Police Department try to net drunk drivers.
Earlier this month, the Concord Police Department, along with assistance from area police personnel and the Merrimack County Sheriff’s Department, held a sobriety checkpoint on Loudon Road as part of an ongoing effort to get – and keep – drunk drivers off of Concord’s streets.
Another checkpoint is planned for later this week, at an undisclosed location around the city.
This checkpoint was held on July 6, from 10 p.m. until about 3 a.m. on Loudon Road, outside of the Everett Arena.
Here is a behind-the-scenes look at the checkpoint, with various pictures of the setup and process, as well as a video featuring a safety cruise through the checkpoint and another video update at about midnight, while the checkpoint process was about halfway over.
9:02 p.m. Officers from around the region gathered at the Concord Police Department headquarters to be briefed on the checkpoint. Thirteen personnel from Concord, Allenstown, Chichester, Epsom, and Pembroke participated. Only one officer hadn’t been involved in a checkpoint previously.
Lt. Gregory Taylor, of the department’s planning and assisting unit, explained that the checkpoint would be set up on Loudon Road. He showed a drawing of where the inspection bays would be set up on the street and that along with the officers, there would be liquor enforcement officers to help with the sobriety testing.
9:20 p.m. Officers arrive at the Everett Arena to set up. They park their vehicles on the side of the building. Officers and an observer are given reflective vests for safety purposes.
9:30 p.m. The checkpoint team begins setting up. Cones are placed in the middle lanes of Loudon Road. The enforcement vans are parked on each end and they raise large lighting fixtures into the air to illuminate the immediate area around the cars that they will be pulling over.
9:51 p.m. Det. Sgt. Cori Casey, the safety officer for the evening, takes a drive through both sides of the check point to ensure that the checkpoint signs are placed properly and that the sightlines of oncoming traffic can easily read and navigate through the area.
9:58 p.m. The checkpoint team begins to pull over vehicles. The process is done in a random way. Not every car is stopped. In fact, with three bays on each side of Loudon Road, and only six officers tending to those vehicles, most of the vehicles traveling on Loudon Road during this time period are not stopped.
10:15 p.m. The checkpoint is in full swing. An officer jokes that bars and restaurants in the area are probably calling each other and warning their customers that a checkpoint has been set up.
10:45 p.m. There is a steady flow of traffic going through the checkpoint process. Things seem to be running smoothly. A few people have been given tests. A number of drivers tell officers during the process that they have handguns in the cars and those guns are checked. Taylor estimated that the team would probably see about 350 cars for the evening.
11:10 p.m. A couple in a white Ford Focus are pulled into the checkpoint after coming from the Ninety-Nine Restaurant on D'Amante Drive. The man fails the sobriety test and is taken into custody for an alcohol level test. His wife, who was reportedly not drinking that evening, moves the car around into the Everett Arena parking lot to wait for the results. The man passes the blood level test and is released from custody.
11:35 p.m. A number of vehicles turn around in the Shell gas station parking lot to avoid the checkpoint and police pursued them into the night. A pickup truck squealed its tires out of the lot and police followed in pursuit.
July 7, 12:10 a.m. So far, no drunk drivers were arrested. But one alleged habitual offender is charged. Jeremiah J. Alford, 29, of Littleton, was arrested and charged.
July 10. Taylor submitted some results from the checkpoint.
According to Taylor, 360 vehicles were check with 13 sobriety tests performed. There were two driving while intoxicated arrests, one habitual offender, felony, arrest, and one person cited for having an uninspected vehicle.