Why Ohio Cops Are Setting Up Fake Highway Checkpoints

Ohio police are not allowed to set up checkpoints for drugs on the highway. Here's the trick they use to set one up anyway.

ABC News reports that police in Mayfield Heights, outside of Cleveland, have found what they believe to be a loophole around a 2000 Supreme Court ruling banning highway checkpoints for anything other than drunk driving and trafficking illegal immigrants.

The Mayfield Heights Police set up signs on Interstate 271 saying that there is a drug checkpoint up ahead complete with drug-sniffing dogs. There are no dogs up ahead, and there is no official checkpoint. However, the signs make drivers carrying drugs freak out so much that they will give officers sufficient probably cause to search their vehicles. ABC News reports that drivers are seen throwing drugs out the window and pulling u-turns across the median. Four people were caught with drugs in the first month of the program.

Let me break this scheme down in a few points.

  • The Ohio police are not allowed to set up a drug checkpoint.
  • The Ohio police set up a sign on the highway saying there is a drug checkpoint up ahead. There is no official checkpoint up ahead.
  • The cops then wait at the non-checkpoint for drivers to freak out about the sign.
  • The cops then check these drivers for drugs at this point, which totally isn't a checkpoint, you guys.

Understandably, the Ohio ACLU isn't happy with the scheme, as their spokesman Nick Worner told ABC News.

Maybe they can do it, but should they do it? Police need to deceive taxpayers for their own good, but what does the public think? Does it pass the smell test? They allege it's not a checkpoint, but it's little more than a ruse.

Photo Credit: Associated Press (Ohio Sobriety Checkpoint pictured)