Do police need to know where you’re going?

Regarding your article in Wednesday’s paper about driving-while-intoxicated checkpoints: Aside from tavern owners’ complaints that DWI checkpoints are bad for business, the first questions that the police ask drivers they stop are chilling. “Where are you going?” and “Where are you coming from?” are not police business. In what kind of society do the police monitor the movements of its citizens? What do they intend to do with the information they gather with such questions? What would be the consequences if a driver were to respond firmly and politely, “Officer, those questions are not police business”?

If these stops are really intended to deter drunken driving and to check that cars are properly registered, inspected and insured, then the first and only questions the police ask should be on point. We do not live in an authoritarian police state, but the questions they ask at these checkpoints are certainly consistent with one. The reasons why the police have this policy should be made public and open to discussion.

Chuck and Helen Cairns

Ray Brook