Helping People Drive Drunk

“Memphis Police will put up roadblocks this New Year’s Eve weekend to catch drunk drivers. Coming up, we’ll tell you where those checkpoints will be.”

I’ve never understood why these stories make the newscasts prior to the holidays. It always seems to me that if police put up these roadblocks to catch drunk drivers, why should they tip off those drunks on which streets to avoid?

Police departments release the information and then the tv stations broadcast it. What purpose does that serve, other than to tell drunks where not to drive?

I saw the first tease for these stories last night on WPTY during the PrimeTime Live special on Pope Joan. The other stations will broadcast the story too in the coming days. I’ve questioned producers and executive producers and news directors on why we would give out that information and they’ve always told me “if police didn’t want us to release it, they wouldn’t tell us would they?”

Isn’t this kind of like a police department cracking down on bank robberies and then broadcasting which banks have alarms and armed guards? If I was going to drink and drive this weekend, I’d make a point to watch the news today to find out which streets I should avoid.

“Police will set up roadblocks on Riverdale at Shelby, Poplar at Kirby and Winchester at Mt. Moriah”. Now, even a drunk would know it’s best to go somewhere else.

So why do police departments release this information? And why do tv stations choose to broadcast it?



Filed under Misc.

5 responses to “Helping People Drive Drunk

  1. STN

    They do the same thing here. But they always say afterward, “There will also be numerous other unannounced checkpoints.”

    Local police here say advertising *some* of the checkpoints actually does serve as a deterrent.

  2. Weaver

    We get those notices here from the police as a courtesy to help us cover their event, NOT for airing the warnings. The emails or faxes with such information usually have a line at the end embargoing the information as for internal use only.

    I have never understood or agreed with the mindset of producers and news directors that there is no such thing as ‘off the record’.

  3. Anonymous

    Winchester and Mt. Moriah don’t cross.

  4. jamey tucker

    ha! Guess I was drunk the last time I drove through Memphis.
    Right you are. Can you tell I haven’t been to the big city enough in the past year to remember streets?

  5. Anonymous

    I imagine Media release the information for… ratings?

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