Police are once again revving up the PR battle against drinking tonight, just as they did back in 2015 when Diane Dixon attempted to shut down all bars at 11pm when she was mayor the first time. On her second-run as mayor, they are sending them out again (to be fair, the police did spurts of this in-between, but not nearly as well publicized).
This newest round will occur tonight from 6pm to 10pm.
The police will be walking into bars armed with breathalyzers. The officers then proceed to ask patrons to take the test so that the police could catalog the data. The police state that this is for public awareness, however what they don’t tell you is that this is a completely inadmissible and misleading way to use a breathalyzer. In the State of California, a breathalyzer used in a DUI case can only be used after twenty full minutes have passed since the last drink– otherwise, the test registers significantly higher BAC than reality, because of the aerosoled alcohol within the drinkers mouth. In the biggest irony, the police department is required to train this to their officers– but apparently in this case, it doesn’t apply. So if you get breathalyzed inside of 20 minutes of sipping a drink, just know that the reading is inaccurate and high, and the police giving the breathalyzer know it is inaccurate and high.
We are not sure what they are trying to “inform” anyone of, if the data they give is inaccurate and high.
Unless this is a scare tactic.
Of those asked in 2015, 34 refused, and 44 took the test.
Police contend that it is entirely voluntary, and that bars and restaurants must agree to allow them to enter, and patrons must agree to being breathalyzed. Any establishment owner knows that if there is one rule, it is this: Don’t p*** off the police. Therefore, this “voluntary” effort is anything but. And how many citizens feel comfortable telling police “No”? (Note: 34 of 75 is more than what I would have expected!)
“The Know Your Limits campaign is not intended to be an enforcement tool or a scare tactic,” said Sergeant Rachel Johnson in a prepared statement.
While there are some variables to consider, the basic rule of thumb widely known and re-iterated ad nauseam in every Drivers Safety class: “Two beers and you’re over half-way there” and “your body works off one beer per hour.” There is no public education needed on this matter– especially by wasting the time of our highly-paid police force. Besides, places like Rudy’s have had breathalyzers available as in-house machines for about 15 years now, and portable breathalyzers have become so inexpensive I am sure there are already frat drinking games revolving around measuring your BAC.
As police entered these establishments in 2015, they scanned the crowds for alcohol consumption measurements, and logged their information– including gender, age, and city of residence (coincidentally, these also are statistics used for calculating likely Newport voters). They then released a statement showing that most participants drinking were not from Newport Beach, and detailed where all the people were coming from– but failed to detail the exact thing that they were measuring: BAC.
While police did not release the full scope of BAC results, they said that there were some people who registered as a sobering 0.00% BAC, and the most inhibited person they could find was a 0.21% BAC. The police release offered absolutely no information as to whether or not any of these people were intending to drive, yet the operation– called “Know Your Limits”– is stated as a method of preventing drunk driving.
So, are DUIs a problem in Newport? Well, we do have one of the lowest DUI rates in history– and while even one is a problem, we simply don’t have unlimited funds to dump down the drain. Here is a prime example of overkill: Using YOUR taxpayer money, this campaign seeks to reduce drunk driving in a city where, prior to the aforementioned incident, the last 3 DUI checkpoints (2/20/2015, 3/13/2015, and 5/29/2015) used three hundred and sixty man hours (with expenses at $200,000/year STARTING, that’s over $34,000) across 45 officers days, combined… to catch 1 “suspected” DUI driver, each day.
Now, the police department is spending unknown amounts of taxpayer dollars in an effort to enter private establishments and breathalyze individuals who were on dates or otherwise minding their own business.
What do you think about this effort? Is this a friendly outreach effort designed to educate people, or do you think BAC is common knowledge by now, and this is simply a form of police intimidation?