Since the beginning of 2014, Knightdale police have logged 60 checkpoints, far above the required number established for a now-expired grant.
Police chief Jason Godwin said the town is no longer required to do four DWI checkpoints a year, a number that was set when the town received a Governor’s Highway Safety grant about four years ago.
But Knightdale police have adopted that requirement as a standard.
So far this year, Knightdale police have done three of the four DWI checkpoints that has become the department’s norm. The other 57 have been checkpoints for other driving offenses, like licenses and seatbelts.
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Most checkpoints are impromptu, set up when a shift is slow. At those, which can be during the day, officers usually look for expired licenses, seat belts being buckled and suspects wanted in other crimes.
With the grant, those checkpoints were logged and the number of hours the department spent on efforts like checkpoints became points that could then be redeemed with the state for equipment.
Godwin said Knightdale police receieved new radar units for new vehicles for points earned through the checkpoints held while under the grant.
At the most recent DWI checkpoint on Sept. 20, nine agencies helped Knightdale police with a four-hour checkpoint at the intersection of Westover Drive and Knightdale Boulevard.
There were nine DWIs, 11 driving with a revoked license, 21 driving with no license, three children seat belt violations, one drug arrest and four other traffic charges.
Knightdale officer Travis Price said there were also three drivers who tried to avoid the checkpoint by abandoning their vehicles and running.
That was one of 60 checkpoints from this year and the third DWI checkpoint. Godwin said the department will hold one more before the year is over.
In those 60 checkpoints (which include ones held for other checks than just DWI), there were 156 seatbelt citations, which include child safety seat violations, eight drug charges, 13 arrests for DWIs and 220 other charges. Most of those were driving with a revoked license or without a license.
There were also 10 warrants served this year because of Knightdale’s checkpoints.
The Governor’s Highway Patrol allowed the department to dedicate two officers to a traffic patrol unit, Price and officer Ron Fullerton. They coordinate large, multi-agency checkpoints, which Knightdale hosts twice a year.
Two other times a year, the department holds its own DWI checkpoints, without other agencies.