The VCU Police Department conducted a checkpoint Saturday night on Main Street, near the Landmark Theater. A total of 26 police officers from VCU, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, the city of Richmond and the state were on duty for the event.
Police screened 611 vehicles, seven of which were DUIs. The “no tolerance” checkpoint included more than sobriety checks; tags, registration, inspection, seatbelts, headlights and tinted windows were checked as well.
Officer Edgar Greer, who helped organize the event by getting a DMV Highway Safety grant, said that checkpoints should teach people, students especially, that drinking and driving is a serious issue.
“Alcohol doesn’t have a face. While you can imagine what a robber would look like, you can’t imagine what a drunk driver looks like. All walks of life have some level of irresponsibility. These people are adults and seem educated, and yet they’re drinking and driving,” said Greer.
Captain Warren Grant said that if more people witnessed how dangerous drunk driving is, they would be less likely to do so.
“I think if the general public could see this firsthand, that would go a long way towards highway safety … Everyone’s getting stopped here tonight. First of all, if they haven’t been drinking at all, which is the vast majority of them, it reminds them of how important it is [not to drink and drive],” said Grant.
Mike Parrish, who was responsible for towing the cars whose drivers had been arrested, said he has encountered intense drunk driving scenes.
“People have gone the wrong way down Cary Street to avoid the checkpoint. Others have run away while still in handcuffs. There was even a professor who refused to stop and had to be chased down Main Street,” said Willis. “You see some crazy people at these checkpoints.”
While the checkpoint was in full swing, some students gathered in front of the Gladding Residence Center to watch the event.
Christine Campbell, a photography and pre-med student junior, said she was glad to see the police doing a checkpoint because it made her feel safer.“[Drunk driving and crime] would probably be a lot worse on campus if there wasn’t such a good VCU campus enforcement,” said Campbell.
Michelle Polizzi, a freshman art foundation student, felt differently. Being a resident of the GRC building, she said the checkpoint was “distracting and obnoxious.” She said she didn’t mind the police conducting a checkpoint, but said they should have chosen a different location.
Captain Grant said that he felt like the majority of citizens are glad the police conduct checkpoints. “They help enlighten citizens, raise awareness, and emphasize the ‘don’t drink and drive’ message.”
Leave a Reply