Police can ask something other than movements

To the editor:

Concerning John Stack’s response to our skepticism concerning the questions police ask drivers at driving-while-intoxicated checkpoints: Stack suggested that the only alternative to asking drivers where they were going and coming from was to wait until the driver was observed “taking a swig,” or something equally silly. Why cannot the police simply ask, as the first question, “Have you been drinking?” The driver’s response to that question, along with a sniff of the air inside the vehicle, should give a trained police officer enough information to decide if further investigation is called for.

John Stack’s blog does not help us understand why the police first inquire into our movements when they stop us. His assertion that we are not legally obligated to answer such questions makes it all the more puzzling why they are asked in the first place. Our movements are not police business; that’s why we don’t need to answer those questions. And that’s why the police should not ask those questions in the first place.

If it is true that this line of inquiry at checkpoints is “incredibly widely used and accepted,” then it is all the more important to discuss this matter clearly. Police routinely asking questions about our movements raises important civil liberties issues.

Chuck and Helen Cairns

Ray Brook