"If the people of a democracy are allowed to do so, they will vote away freedoms that are essential to that democracy." -Snell Putney quoted in FUNKTIONARY.
While the police have power to create roadblocks for the purposes of border security (United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 1976), and removing drunk drivers from the road (Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz, 1990), such power is limited to situations in which the search was "designed to serve special needs, beyond the normal need for law enforcement." The Court has drawn a line on check point programs that followed Police v. Sitz (1990) "whose primary purpose" is "to detect evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing". The Court refused to "credit the 'general interest in crime control' as justification for a regime of suspicionless stops."
From [HERE] Frustration over heightened gun violence is driving councilmembers to propose new actions.
However, Mobile’s public safety director says some ideas on the table put our constitutional rights in jeopardy.
Mobile's public safety director James Barber says a recent increase in gun violence is a direct result of stolen guns -- most being taken from unlocked cars.
“High capacity weapons are ending up in the street and they are ending up in the wrong hands of adolescents as well as criminals and that’s why you are seeing this huge increase in gunshots,” Barber said.
Councilman CJ Small, a negro somnesiac and his constituents think the increase in violence has a direct link to the city cutting out checkpoints on our roadways.
Small says several years ago, officers would stop drivers and ask for licenses and insurance keeping the community on their toes.
“It seems like since the city has stopped checkpoints that crime has risen,” Small said, adding, “You hear about more shootings now than you did several years ago and so I have citizens pleading for the administration to start checkpoints again.”
Barber doesn't agree.
“It has been our experience that there’s been very little effectiveness in these safety checkpoints,” Barber said, adding, “They were hugely inconvenient to the public. They were hugely costly to police because of the number of personnel assigned and very few guns were ever taken from these checkpoints.”
Barber says our fourth amendment right dictates police can't just stop and search cars. There needs to be probable cause.
“You have to weigh the public convenience against whether or not it really serves a public safety interest,” Barber said.
To cut down the number of guns stolen from unlocked cars, Barber's interested in working with Small on a different proposal.
“Maybe to the permits, the pistol permits people get to carry these guns, there could be some sanctions as far as suspension or revocation of that permit if they are irresponsible,” Barber said.
Barber says he wants to make sure people's second amendment right to owning and responsibly using a gun isn't jeopardized either.