July 5, 2013
On Tuesday, July 2, the Beckley Police Department conducted a seat belt checkpoint which yielded zero citations for seat belt violations, which really isn’t surprising when you consider Beckley’s new seat belt law doesn’t go into effect until July 9. The officers did, however, manage to find cause to bring in the K-9 corps and conduct a few illegal drug searches.
Beckely, West Virginia, law enforcement officials conducted the seat belt checkpoint ostensibly to raise awareness about the impending changes to the seat belt law which would make lack of seat belt usage a primary offense in West Virginia.
Since the new law doesn’t kick in until July 9, officers had no grounds to arrest anyone who wasn’t using a seat belt. A press release said, “The Beckley Police Department will continue to utilize highway safety funded checkpoints to crack down on impaired driving, violations of our traffic safety laws, and increase awareness for safe driving habits in an effort to make our roadways safer.”
Yet, while conducting the ‘seat belt’ checkpoint, officers also brought in the K-9 corps and made five drug arrests, seizing 96 grams of marijuana, crack cocaine, and $1,500 in cash.
Beckley, W. Va. isn’t the only city conducting illegal search and seizures under the guise of protecting motorists. Last week, police in Mayfield Heights, Ohio set up fake drug checkpoints along I-271 with plenty of signs posted to scare motorists into committing some sort of suspicious activity, such as veering out of their line or pulling over into the median. Mayfield Heights officers made three drug arrests that day.