LEHIGH COUNTY REGIONAL DUI TASK FORCE
Several dozen law enforcement officers from communities throughout Lehigh County gathered at a Lehigh County DUI Task Force command trailer late on the evening of Aug. 4 along Broadway, for a combination citizen education and drunk driving enforcement detail that coincides every year with the first night of Musikfest activities in Bethlehem.
The message was simple. Enjoy the festival. Have fun. But don’t get behind the wheel if you are impaired.
The checkpoint was operational to and from the festival, along the busy Broadway casino and event corridor. Normally, a Lehigh County DUI Task Force single-direction checkpoint draws 25 to 30 local officers.
Unloaded from the command trailer, signage and checkpoint barriers are erected, officers greet each motorist with courtesy and explain the purpose of the checkpoint. Because of the scope of this annual detail, the number of officers approached four dozen or more. The host law enforcement agency, in this case the Salisbury Township Police Department, is expected to provide a large contingent of officers.
After each contact, each motorist is given an educational handout detailing the penalties for driving under the influence – fines of from $500 to $5,000, suspension of driving privileges from two days to six months, points on an operator’s license and jail time if a motor vehicle accident is involved.
The checkpoint resulted in several field sobriety tests, arrests for drunk driving and the search of suspicious vehicles for contraband.
In one detailed vehicle search, illegal contraband was discovered and arrests were made.
A few protestors who regularly appear at task force checkpoints were on hand to urge resistance to police activities. The protestors were recording the event with digital video equipment, and live-streaming to the group’s website.
A Salisbury officer at the scene said the overwhelming number of motorists traversing the checkpoint expressed positive comments and thanked officers for helping to keep them and their families safe on the road.
Those cited or arrested had less charitable commentary.