Checkpoints held throughout the San Gabriel Valley over the weekend resulted in more than 100 arrests, most of which were for driving without a license, officials said Sunday.
A six-hour checkpoint in La Puente late Friday and early Saturday resulted in two DUI arrests, along with 55 arrests of unlicensed drivers and 22 arrests for other alleged crimes, authorities said.
The checkpoint, run by deputies from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Industry Station, took place from 7 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday on Hacienda Boulevard at Temple Avenue, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. It was one of several checkpoints held throughout the San Gabriel Valley over the weekend by area law enforcement agencies from La Verne to Pasadena.
Of the 2,271 cars that passed through the overnight checkpoint, deputies screened 1,673 drivers, officials said.
Two drivers were arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and two people were arrested on suspicion of drug possession, according to the sheriff’s department statement. One person was jailed on suspicion of knowingly allowing an unlicensed person to drive and one driver was accused of driving without a court-ordered ignition interlock device.
One person was jailed on an outstanding traffic warrant, officials said. And 17 drivers were arrested for driving on a suspended or revoked license.
But the vast majority of the 79 arrests, 55 of them, were of unlicensed drivers, officials said.
Eleven cars were impounded for 30 days at the checkpoint, while 15 were impounded for one day and 48 were released at the checkpoint.
Similar results were seen during the sheriff’s Industry Station’s last checkpoint, which was also held in La Puente overnight Dec. 21 and 22.
More than 70 people were arrested at the December checkpoint, which took place on Hacienda Boulevard at Nelson Avenue, sheriff’s officials said at the time. One driver was accused of driving under the influence of methamphetamine; one person was jailed for drug possession; one person was arrested on a parole violation, three people were arrested due to traffic warrants; two people were arrested for allowing an unlicensed person to drive, 14 people were jailed for driving on a suspended or revoked license; and 56 arrests of unlicensed drivers were made.
The dozens of arrests of unlicensed drivers at the December checkpoint, as well as dozens more at a checkpoint in Baldwin Park the following weekend, sparked outrage from family members of those arrested and immigrant rights activist who allege the checkpoints unfairly target undocumented immigrants.
But the sheriff’s department maintains the checkpoints are designed to improve public safety.
“Checkpoints are placed in locations that have the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence and provide the greatest safety to the public,” according to the sheriff’s department statement. But arresting intoxicated drivers is not the only goal.
“This DUI/Driver’s License checkpoint lowers DUI deaths and injuries. A major component of these checkpoints is the deterrent effects it has on those who might drive drunk or drugged.”
The La Puente checkpoint was one of several held over the weekend throughout the region. Arcadia, La Verne, and Pasadena also had overnight checkpoints. The California Highway Patrol also sent 20 extra officers out on a DUI saturation patrol late Saturday and early Sunday.
In Arcadia, police screened about 1,200 of the nearly 2,000 cars that passed through a checkpoint held from 9 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday along Baldwin Avenue at the Gate 8 entrance to Santa Anita Park and the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall, Arcadia police Lt. Bob Anderson said.
“Fifteen (field sobriety tests) were given, resulting in five DUI arrests,” Anderson said. Two people were jailed on traffic warrants.
Police cited, but did not arrest, 16 unlicensed drivers and 7 people who were driving on a suspended or revoked licensed, Anderson said. One person was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public.
Arcadia police impounded six cars for 30 days, and another six cars for 1 day, Anderson said.
Official results from Pasadena’s checkpoint, which took place late Friday and early Saturday at Fair Oaks Avenue and Hurlbut Street, were not available over the weekend, officials said. But electronic police logs indicated four suspected DUI drivers were arrested.
In La Verne, a checkpoint late Saturday and early Sunday netted 15 arrests, La Verne police Sgt. Monica Schusse said.
Two of the arrests were for intoxicated driving, while the other 13 resulted from other alleged crimes, the sergeant said. Further details regarding the arrests were not available Sunday.
The reasons for the difference in the ways in which police agencies deal with unlicensed drivers at checkpoints — whether such drivers are cited or arrested is not entirely clear.
Following protests in Baldwin Park in December and January, Baldwin Park police officials said unlicensed drivers were taken to jail because they did not have valid identification to prove their identities, as the Los Angeles Superior Court’s West Covina Branch, where the department files it’s cases, would no longer accept matricula consular cards as identification.
Court officials said no such policy change occurred.
Baldwin Park city officials subsequently announced police would resume accepting matricula consular cards as identification, and the city council discussed considering a moratorium on checkpoints. The city previously suspended checkpoints and changed its checkpoint impound policy in 2010 amid outcry from activists.
Funding for the checkpoints is provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.