By Elizabeth Hur
NEWPORT, Del. (CBS) – Police across the region are on the lookout for drunk drivers – knowing the night before Thanksgiving is traditionally a big party night.
Eyewitness News checked in with police in Newport, Delaware where officers participated in the 78-member New Castle County Checkpoint Strike Force. The team of NITSA-certified officers has been combating impaired driving in Delaware since its inception in 2003.
The Strike Force is led by Newport Police Chief Michael J. Capriglione who noted, “We’re always ahead of them. We’re always ahead of the curve. The apps that are out there to tell you that the check points are at this location, that location, it hasn’t hurt our business at all.”
Capriglione is responding to drivers who try to find their way around DUI checkpoints.
Critics and some lawmakers have expressed concern and outrage over Twitter and smart phone apps now warning users about checkpoint locations. The veteran officer, however, says he is not worried maintaining police find ways to outsmart them.
Capriglione explained, “They’re going to say we’re at this location but we’re going to move probably in a few hours and some of them won’t get that text until it’s after the fact and they’ll be caught within our net at that point and it’s not going to matter.”
In addition, if you don’t see DUI checkpoints on your way home, Capriglione says, you’re not necessarily off the hook.
Throughout the region, we’re told, there are officers on roving patrol looking for drivers who may have had too much to drink on what is now referred to as “Blackout Wednesday” that’s according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving which also noted Thanksgiving was the deadliest Thursday in 2010.
Patrick Meade of Burlington Township, NJ said, “I’ve already seen two check points as early as 3 o’clock today.”
We found Meade and friends at Kite&Key in the Spring Garden of Phladelphia. They are aware police are out in full force and checkpoints, in their view: key deterrents.
Marty Lutz of Moorestown, NJ said, “I think they’re just a nice reminder of drinking and driving responsibly.”
Lynne Summers of Southwest Philadelphia added, “In that you are aware there are persons out there that are paying attention to the amount of alcohol that you consume.”
Capriglione concluded, “We think by us being out there, less people are going to take the chance because they are going to get caught. Sooner or later you’ll run into us, I guarantee you.”