Social media sites reveal cops' secret locations

Published: Aug. 10, 2011 at 6:27 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 10, 2011 at 11:18 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - With thousands of "likes," Facebook pages designed to reveal the secret locations of DWI checkpoints have started sprouting up in recent months, but law enforcement officials doubt the pages will have any impact on the way they carry out business.

There is a page for just about every major city in most of the 50 states. According to a site that promotes the pages, Partners for a Better America, only 12 states don't have DWI/DUI checkpoint pages.

Each page features the same profile picture of a sign warning of a sobriety check point ahead.

The Lake Charles DWI checkpoint page had around 2,900 "likes" by the deadline for this story. The one for Lafayette had about 5,800 and the one for Baton Rouge had more than 17,000 "likes."

In addition to asking people to post DWI checkpoint locations, the pages also encourage users to post the location of cops in general. For instance, many people post information about where law officers are stationed or parked throughout the day.

The Partners for a Better America website says the pages are part of the "front lines in the battle for what is right." A media inquiry from KPLC to the group was not answered by Wednesday's news deadline.

Local law enforcement officials said they are aware of the pages, and other sites like them, alerting the public to DWI checkpoints, but they don't believe it will have an impact on them.

"We're seeing that more people are using social networking sites and apps to attempt to elude these checkpoints, but we're still making quite a lot of DWI arrests," said Sgt. James Anderson with the Louisiana State Police. "In many cases, it's a more technologically-savvy version of what has been going on for years."

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso said if part of the goal is to help potential drunk drivers and other law breakers get away, they have failed.

"If checkpoints were the only avenue we had for finding drunk drivers, then I would say it would hurt us," said Mancuso. "But that's not where we get the majority of our drunken drivers. We get them through our roving details."

Mancuso said when his department conducts a DWI detail they patrol all over the parish.

"I want people to understand that we're going to do these checkpoints. We're going to do these roving checkpoints. Our whole goal is to deter them from drinking and driving. That's our ultimate goal," said Mancuso.

There are also several smart phone apps that reveal law enforcement locations, however major companies like Apple have pulled those products from their stores.

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