Clanton Police Department conducts checkpoints

Published 10:07 am Wednesday, March 29, 2017


The Clanton Police Department conducts sobriety checkpoints throughout the city at unplanned times.

“It gives us a chance to be out in the public a little bit more and have more face-to-face contact,” Chief Keith Maddox said. “The more visible we are, that’s a huge reduction of crime just by being visible.”

“We have a job to serve and protect. We do that in many ways, and one of those ways is promoting safe highways,” Captain Neil Fetner said. “It is a proactive policing tool.”

The checkpoints are intended to deter drunk driving and other dangerous behaviors on roadways. A supervisor with a rank of lieutenant or higher must approve a checkpoint before it is set up.

The CPD often alerts the public before the checkpoint is deployed, so people will not get on the road drunk. They do not reveal where the checkpoint will be, just that a checkpoint will be out.

“If I notify you … maybe you’ll go to the store and go home and be responsible,” Fetner said. “If we do encounter you, then we’ll go through the steps we’re trained to do to detect the violation of driving under the influence.”

The stops are also a way to make sure a driver has a license, insurance and an up-to-date tag.

Fetner said he often hears complaints that the checkpoints are unconstitutional or that the department is targeting certain people.

“We target the violation, but we’re not targeting people,” Fetner said.

In regards to the constitutionality of the checkpoints, Fetner cited Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz, a 1990 Supreme Court case in which the justices made a 6-3 decision that sobriety checkpoints being conducted by the Michigan State Police Department did not violate the Fourth Amendment.