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Study shows DUI checkpoints may improve police perception

The perception of the police in Maryland and many other parts of the country is not always that positive. Stories of police injustice have spread frequently in the news and on social media.

Additionally, most people who talk to the police or interact with them in any way are in a negative situation. For example, in around 86 percent of cases, people said they'd last talked to the police after being pulled over.

A study was done to see if having people interact with the police in different situations changed how those people felt about the officers. To do it, the authorities used DUI checkpoints. At these checkpoints, people had to talk to police and undergo breath tests even if officers thought they were sober.

Through the whole thing, the police worked hard to be fair and just, treating people kindly and explaining that no one was saying they'd done anything wrong. Many drivers presumably were sober, so they were allowed to go on with no fines or other penalties after a brief chat with the police.

Surveys given to the drivers after their encounters showed that they did view the police more positively after going through the DUI checkpoints. This was largely because they'd interacted with the police in a positive situation in which they were not fined or arrested, so, according to the surveys they turned in, it made them feel better about the officers and law enforcement in general.

This is an interesting use of DUI checkpoints, but has not traditionally been their primary function. If you're facing charges after going through such a checkpoint, you need to know your defense options.

Source: Psychological Science, "Can DUI Checkpoints Change Perceptions of the Police?," accessed May 19, 2016

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