DUI Task Force reinstated after legal concerns

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BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — After DUI Checkpoints were temporarily banned from a loophole in state law, local law enforcement is glad to see it return.

It all started during a court case involving a DUI arrest. The court ruled that the officer that made the arrest was not in his jurisdiction, prompting state legislators to revise the current law.

The Sheriff of Blair County, James Ott, said these checkpoints are in place not to catch people doing wrong. It’s about planting a seed in their minds to plan ahead if they’re going somewhere to drink.

The Blair County DUI Task Force is one of many in the state that works to remind drivers of the dangerous of driving under the influence.

“Obviously a checkpoint is more about getting the awareness out, planting a seed in someone’s mind of ‘Hey. I shouldn’t be drinking and driving.’ There’s plenty of opportunities and ways to find a way home, to do safe travels without getting behind the wheel, impaired,” Ott said.

Officers from multiple departments come together for the checkpoints in our area. The sheriff said they try to work as quickly as possible to get drivers in and out.

“Our program is never about we wanna catch somebody. We’re not targeting and going out and catching them. Really the program is designed on multiple levels, only one of them is apprehension, then the education and treatment, so there’s multiple levels,” he said.

Sheriff Ott said some drivers feel like they can’t wake up a friend or family member when they need a ride home, but it’s even worse when officers wake them up if something happens.

“You know, we make an arrest and you tell somebody ‘I don’t wanna bother that person and get them out of bed this late at night.’ Well, when we arrest you, or if we have to go do a notification that somebody got hurt or injuries or killed, we still have to disturb somebody. Why not get it ahead of time and that’s what we usually, that’s what we’re trying to plant the seed now. Plan ahead,” he said.

The sheriff commended our state officials on their swiftness and dedication to keeps our drivers safe, and asked everyone, once again, to think before getting behind the wheel.

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